This week’s learning resources focus on plate tectonics, the


This week’s Learning Resources focus on plate tectonics, the ever-active colliding plates of the Earth’s surface whose movements form mountains, cause earthquakes, fuel volcanic eruptions, and thus, shape the physical environment around us.

Consider the geography where you live. Are mountains tall, short, jagged, or smooth? Or are there none at all? Consider as well that certain areas on the planet are at a higher risk for earthquakes, volcanoes, or tsunamis. What is the risk of an earthquake, volcano, or tsunami in your area? Have you ever experienced one? As you have seen through the Learning Resources, where an area lies on a plate determines its susceptibility to these natural phenomena.

In this Discussion, you will examine the relationship between plate tectonics and the formation of mountains and relate those phenomena to the region in which you live. You will also assess the potential danger in your area of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or tsunamis.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review the assigned reading in Chapters 4, 5, and 6 in the course text along with the websites and animations listed in this week’s Learning Resources.
  • Think about how mountains form and why they form in some areas, but not in others.
  • Consider the potential risks of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis occurring in your local area.
  • Reflect on the forces behind these natural processes.

For this Discussion, your Instructor will either assign groups to threads or direct you to choose one thread from the choices listed this week.

If you are directed to choose a thread on your own, follow these instructions: Each thread is limited to a maximum number of students, based on class size. A thread will close if the limit is reached. If a thread is closed to new posters, select from the open threads. You will post both your initial post and your response post in the same thread.

By Day 3

Post a brief description of the nearest mountains to you. Describe how plate tectonics affected the topography of the land in the area in which you live. Explain how the presence or absence of mountains (and their characteristics) in your area/region affects climate. Then, briefly assess the potential risk in your area of the natural hazard (earthquake, volcano, or tsunami) of your Discussion thread and relate it to plate activity.

Thread 1: Earthquakes

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