View of the planet Earth from the Apollo spacecraft. The Red Sea, which separates Saudi Arabia
from the continent of Africa, is clearly visible at the top. (Photograph courtesy of NASA.)




preface.gif perspective.gif topomapthumb.gif platemotion.gif
Historical perspective
Developing the theory
Understanding plate motions
hot_spotthumb.gif questions.gif Pinatubothumb.gif Rainierthumb.gif
"Hotspots": Mantle
thermal plumes
Some unanswered questions
Plate tectonics and people

This book was originally published in paper form in February 1996 (design and coordination by Martha Kiger; illustrations and production by Jane Russell). It is for sale for $7 from:

U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop SSOP
Washington, DC 20402-9328

or it can be ordered directly from the U.S. Geological Survey:

Call toll-free 1-888-ASK-USGS

Or write to
USGS Information Services
Box 25286, Building 810
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225
303-202-4700; Fax 303-202-4693

ISBN 0-16-048220-8

Version 1.08
The online edition contains all text from the original book in its entirety.
Some figures have been modified to enhance legibility at screen resolutions.

Many of the images in this book are available in high resolution from the USGS Media for Science page.

USGS Home Page

Last updated: 01.29.01