plate tectonics

noun, plural in form but singular in construction
Updated on: 8 Nov 2017

Definition of plate tectonics

1 :a theory in geology: the lithosphere of the earth is divided into a small number of plates which float on and travel independently over the mantle and much of the earth's seismic activity occurs at the boundaries of these plates
2 :the process and dynamics of tectonic plate movement; also :a similar process on a body other than earth — compare continental drift

plate-tectonic

adjective

Recent Examples of plate tectonics from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plate tectonics.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of plate tectonics

1969


PLATE TECTONICS Defined for English Language Learners

plate tectonics

noun

Definition of plate tectonics for English Language Learners

  • geology : a scientific theory that the Earth's surface is made of very large sections that move very slowly; also : the movements of the large sections that form the Earth's surface


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