Unit 1: Overview of Plate Tectonics and Volcanoes

Unit 1: Plate Tectonics and Volcanoes

Plate Tectonics and VOlcanoes Lessons

Candace Tetz, John Sedgwick Middle School, Dr. Deborah Kelley, University of Washington, & Dr. Kareen Borders, South Kitsap School District

  1. Investigating Ocean Floor Structures
  2. Plate Tectonics and the Ocean Floor
  3. Formation Of Underwater Volcanoes
  4. Data Collection Instruments
  5. Axial Seamount: A Superb Example

Plate tectonics drives the face of our planet. Within the oceans, seafloor spreading results in the longest mountain chain on Earth, accounting for >70% of volcanism on Earth. Within these dynamic environments, hidden beneath the waves, are some of the most extreme environments known – underwater hot springs hosting novel organisms that thrive off of volcanic gases. In this series of lesson plans, students will:

  • Learn ocean floor structure vocabulary as they diagram and sculpt the ocean floor.
  • Investigate the relationship between plate tectonics and volcanoes
  • Develop an understanding for how underwater volcanoes are formed, conditions of water located near underwater volcanoes, and of some of the underwater volcanoes’ structures.
  • Understand some of the instruments that measure sea floor changes
  • Explain Axial Seamount, where it is located, how it was formed, what makes it a unique ocean floor feature, life at the site, data tools used to collect information on Axial Seamount, and why it is important for us to understand this underwater volcano.