Education

Hotspot Islands: Messages from Moving Plates

STEM Learning Module
Island Hotspot
Ocean Exploration Trust

The Earth’s crust is broken into large tectonic plates that move over the top layer of the mantle. The magma from the mantle can break through the crust at divergent plate boundaries, like at the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Ridge to form underwater mountain ridges. This module focuses on oceanic hotspots and assumes the magma plume from the mantle is fixed in place. Students will look at how the ages of hotspot islands, like the Hawaiian islands, can be used to determine which way large tectonic plates are moving.

Objectives & learning outcomes

Students will

  • understand volcanic features on the ocean floor form from magma flowing out of the mantle of the Earth.
  • be able to explain how the ages of rocks taken to date the age of these islands can be used to determine which way large tectonic plates are moving.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Grade level

Grade level

Time & materials

Time & materials
Scale: two of three
Prep time involves some setup of materials & low-cost supplies.

Documents

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