plate tectonics

plate tectonics
noun plural but singular in construction Date: 1969 1. a theory in geology: the lithosphere of the earth is divided into a small number of plates which float on and travel independently over the mantle and much of the earth's seismic activity occurs at the boundaries of these plates 2. the process and dynamics of tectonic plate movement; also a similar process on a body other than earth — compare continental driftplate-tectonic adjective

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • plate tectonics — plate tectonic, adj. Geol. a theory of global tectonics in which the lithosphere is divided into a number of crustal plates, each of which moves on the plastic asthenosphere more or less independently to collide with, slide under, or move past… …   Universalium

  • plate tectonics — plate tectonics, n. (Geol.) A geological theory which holds that the crust of the earth (the lithosphere) is divided into a small number of large separate plates which float and move slowly around on the more plastic asthenosphere, breaking apart …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • plate tectonics — Tectonics Tec*ton ics, n. 1. The science, or the art, by which implements, vessels, dwellings, or other edifices, are constructed, both agreeably to the end for which they are designed, and in conformity with artistic sentiments and ideas. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • plate tectonics — n. Geol. the theory that the earth s surface consists of plates, or large crustal slabs, whose constant motion explains continental drift, mountain building, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Plate tectonics — The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in the second half of the 20th century …   Wikipedia

  • plate tectonics — /pleɪt tɛkˈtɒnɪks/ (say playt tek toniks) noun a theory concerning the movements of the earth s lithosphere that explains how tectonic plates ride on the moving asthenosphere; supporting the theory of continental drift and sea floor spreading.… …   Australian English dictionary

  • plate tectonics — noun the branch of geology studying the folding and faulting of the earth s crust • Syn: ↑tectonics, ↑plate tectonic theory • Members of this Topic: ↑Pangaea, ↑Pangea • Hypernyms: ↑morphology, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • plate tectonics — N UNCOUNT Plate tectonics is the way that large pieces of the earth s surface move slowly around. [TECHNICAL] …   English dictionary

  • plate tectonics — plate′ tecton′ics n. gel a geologic theory that describes the earth s crust as divided into a number of rigid plates, movement of which accounts for such phenomena as continental drift and the distribution of earthquakes • Etymology: 1965–70… …   From formal English to slang

  • plate tectonics — plate tec tonics n [U] technical the study of the forming and movement of the large sheets of rock that form the surface of the Earth …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • plate tectonics — plate tec tonics noun uncount SCIENCE the study of the large layers of rock under the surface of the Earth, and how they were formed and move …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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