A tectonic plate is a very large piece of the Earth's crust, all of which form the Earth's surface. Their movement gives rise to earthquakes and contributes in part to the genesis of volcanoes.
According to the theory of plate tectonics, the outer shell of the Earth is divided into several plates that slide slowly over the mantle. This slowly changes the surface of the Earth over time, by merging or separating continents.
In the clip above, projections from Chris Scotese – a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Northwestern University – are used to show what the Earth will look like in the future. 250 million years and how tectonic plates will influence our planet.
Professor Scotese retired from teaching at the University of Texas, Arlington, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in 2013. He is now a research associate at the Field Museum of Natural History. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental and Earth Sciences at Northwestern University.
He continues to collaborate with several research groups on topics related to the history of the Earth system, but his main focus is on the book entitled “Earth History, the Evolution of the Earth System”.
He is the co-author of over one hundred scientific publications, and his maps and animations have been used in numerous geological textbooks, scientific research papers, and are exhibited in museums around the world. Additional information can be found on the PALEOMAP website, the Global Geology website, Professor Scotese's YouTube channel or his ResearchGate research page.
Scotese is studying how plate tectonics and global warming will change the appearance of the Earth in the future, and he has made several animated maps based on his research.
For more Scottish excerpts on past and present tectonic plate movements and Earth's history, check out his YouTube page.