Q:

What type of boundary forms when two plates pull apart?

A:

Quick Answer

When two tectonic plates pull apart from one another, they form a divergent plate boundary. In addition to divergent boundaries, there are two other common types of boundaries: convergent boundaries and transform boundaries, also known as strike-slip boundaries.

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Full Answer

The majority of divergent boundaries occur on the ocean floor and lead to the creation of new crust. When two plates pull apart, liquid magma seeps out of the crack between the plates. The magma is then supercooled by the water and hardens to form new rock. This process builds the mid-ocean ridges, areas where new rock causes the land on either side of the boundary to grow higher than the surrounding crust.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why are two plates spreading considered to be constructive?

    A:

    When two tectonic plates spread apart, it is considered to be constructive due to the fact that new crust is generated by the process. In this type of divergent plate boundary, magma rises up and eventually hardens to fill the gap created by the plates pulling apart.

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  • Q:

    What is a divergent boundary?

    A:

    A divergent boundary is a place where the earth's tectonic plates move away from one another. Divergent boundaries occur beneath both thick continental plates and oceanic lithosphere.

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  • Q:

    What happens at a transform boundary?

    A:

    Tectonic plates move horizontally past one another at transform boundaries in either strike-slip or aseismic motions. Earthquakes and tsunamis occur when the pressure locking plates in a strike-slip boundary releases suddenly. Volcanic activity, while common at convergent and divergent plate boundaries, is rare at transform borders.

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  • Q:

    What happens at a convergent boundary?

    A:

    When tectonic plates collide and form a convergent boundary, their interaction can produce earthquakes, volcanic activity, underwater trenches and mountain formations. Any resulting geologic events on the Earth's surface are determined by the type of tectonic plates involved in the collision: oceanic crust, continental crust or a combination of both.

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