Plate Tectonics

Mount St. Helens | Science Trek

Icon: 
Streaming icon

This video segment from IdahoPTV's Science Trek features photos of the 1980 Mt. St. Helen's eruption and photos of what it looks like today. Scientist explain why they are monitoring the mountain today and what they hope to discover.

Scientist Profile: Marine Geologist

Icon: 
Streaming icon

This DragonflyTV segment introduces marine geologist Carol Reiss, who works for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). She studies tectonic plate movement in order to better understand earthquakes. Also available in Spanish.

Earthquake! When Plates Collide

Icon: 
Streaming icon

This video excerpt from NOVA: "Deadliest Earthquakes" shows how Earth’s crust is made up of rocky slabs, called plates, and how those plates are constantly moving. As molten rock rises from Earth's interior and cools to form new crust, it forces older crust to grind against other plates or sink beneath them. Using ground movement data, scientists are able to calculate stress levels at these plate boundaries. This stress is released in a matter of seconds during an earthquake, sometimes generating as much energy as thousands of nuclear bombs.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Plate Tectonics: An Introduction

Icon: 
Streaming icon

In the early 1900s, most geologists thought that Earth's appearance, including the arrangement of the continents, had changed little since its formation. This video segment, adapted from the "Earth Explorer" episode of Discovering Women, describes the impact the theory of plate tectonics has had on our understanding of Earth's geological history, as we have become aware of our planet's ever-changing nature.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions. 

Volcano Geochemistry: Windows to Earth's Interior | Smithsonian Science How

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Explore volcanoes as windows into the Earth's melted interior. Meet Dr. Elizabeth Cottrell, a geologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Understand how you are connected to the interior of the Earth through cycling of gases and other materials. Uncover the evidence about geologic events contained in volcanic glasses and other eruption products. Think about how plate tectonics have gotten us to where we are today on Earth.

Life on Fire: Modern Instruments

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Students will learn the role that volcanologists play in predicting volcanic eruptions using modern technology and how this information can be used for saving lives. This video discusses how technology can help scientists predict when volcanic eruptions will occur and how this information can be used prepare people to survive a volcanic eruption.

Volcanoes! | Science Trek

Icon: 
Streaming icon

More than 80 percent of the earth’s surface came from volcanoes.  How are they formed? What is the difference between magma and lava? What kind of volcanoes are there? Find out more about these explosive marvels of nature.

Making a Seismometer

Icon: 
Streaming icon

For anyone who has never experienced an earthquake, it is very hard to imagine the ground moving beneath your feet. But that's exactly what happens when huge sections of Earth's crust crack or slip past one another. The results can range from nearly imperceptible to totally devastating. In this adapted video segment, ZOOM cast members demonstrate how to make a seismometer, the instrument scientists use to measure Earth's big and small vibrations.

Mount Pinatubo: The Aftermath of a Volcanic Eruption

Icon: 
Streaming icon

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 was the largest volcanic eruption in 80 years. The explosive eruption deposited tons of ash on the towns and villages near the volcano's base. Even more devastating than the eruption, however, were the devastating flows of water and debris that resulted when monsoon rains mixed with the accumulated volcanic ash. This video segment adapted from NOVA shows the impact of these events on the communities surrounding the volcano.

Tectonic Plate Movement in Alaska

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Learn how mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes result from plate tectonics, in this video adapted from KUAC-TV and the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Animations illustrate how the subduction of the Pacific plate under the North American plate and the collision of the Yakutat block builds mountains, such as the Wrangell and St. Elias Mountains. In addition, observe how technology (such as seismometers, satellites, and the Internet) helps scientists study the movement of Earth's crust, and learn about the surprising finding that there are still aftershocks being measured decades after the 1964 earthquake.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Pages