Describe the major topographic relief elements on the solid surface of the earth and briefly explain their deposition in relation to the plate tectonics concept. Have you ever wondered where mountains come from, why there is a sea floor, island arcs or even volcano and what plate tectonic have to do with this? Well worry no more as all your question on the earth’s surfaced topographic relief elements and plate tectonics are about to be answered. The first question that might come to mind is what is a relief?
A relief is a land form that is naturally developed or created on the earth’s surface, and the study of hose land forms is called topography as such the term topographic relief is just land forms that are studied.
These landforms are able to be studied through theories that were originated by pioneers such as Alfred Wagoner, Harry Hess, J. Outs Wilson and many others, theses men all contributed to plate tectonics; which is the study of the plates that makeup the lithosphere, their movements and how these movements has influenced changes in the surface’s topography (Stealer, 2011 , 389).
These plates either sink in to the mantle creating subsection zones which occurs at convergent plate margins r move away from each other causing magma to rise and spread this occurs at divergent plate margins. These plate margins create various relief elements such as volcanoes, Fold Mountains, sea floors and many others. How they do this is not a mystery as at convergent plate margins its the rising of magma that creates volcanoes.
Convergent plate margin consist or two plates oceanic and continental The topographic elements that are formed here are due to three occurrence, oceanic-oceanic plates colliding, continental oceanic plates and continental-continental plates colliding (Mueller, 2005, 140). When a continental and an oceanic plate meet a major topographic feature that will form is a volcano, this is an upward mountain that usually have an opening (vent) through which magma or gas flows. And yes plate tectonics concept explains this.
The concept of plate tectonics is that the divided crust which is called plates move and due to the movement of a continental- oceanic plate subsection zones are created. The oceanic plate is denser than the continental plate as such it will sink (see figure 1) in to the stratosphere pressure will rise as well as gases and the mantle will melt it then forces its ay to the surface leaving a permanent mark or formation of a volcano. As rocks and magma are being forced up and this forms the mountainous landforms which is a topographic relief. Examples of this are Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount Peel in Martinique.
Where two of the same plates meet in this case oceanic-oceanic the denser of the two will sink and is stead Of a single volcano form a curved volcano mountain island chained is formed above the sub-ducted plate and example of this can be seen through the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean and Aleutian Peninsula of Alaska these are topographic element that are too created by the concept of plate tectonics. The last but not the least is the collision of a continental-continental plates, none of these plates sing as such constant movement causes them to collide or slide over each other in anyway the same land form is formed.
It is here that the highest mountains in the world grow as at this collision solid rock is crumpled and faulted. Huge slivers of rock, many kilometers wide are thrust on top of one another like a fold, forming a towering mountain range. The pressure here is so great that an enormous piece of Asia is being wedged sideways; slipping out of the way like a watermelon seed squeezed between your fingers an excellent example of this is Himalayan Mountain Range in Asia. These topographic elements aren’t the only ones in existence as divergent plate margins also contributes to major topographic relief.
Divergent plate boundaries are where two plates are moving apart from one another (Ritter, 2012)usually oceanic-oceanic . The topographic features that develop at this boundary are due to extension of the plate boundaries which causes rifting in continental and oceanic crusts Stealer, 201 1, 419). This extension is caused by rising convectional currents from the stratosphere, as they rise and approach the surface, convection currents diverge at the base of the lithosphere. The diverging currents exert a weak tension or pull on the solid plate above it.
Tension and high heat flow weakens the floating, solid plate, causing it to break apart (see figure 2). The two sides of the now split plate then move away from each other, forming a divergent plate boundary. The space between these diverging plates is filled with molten rocks (magma) from below. Contact with seawater cools the gamma, which quickly solidifies, forming new oceanic lithosphere. The continuity of this process builds a chain of submarine volcanoes and rift valleys called a mid ocean ridge or an oceanic spreading ridge.
Examples of this can be seen where the Eurasian plate and the North American plate are moving away from each other to form the mid Atlantic ridge located in the Atlantic Ocean near Iceland. In concluding topographic features on the earth surface are formed through the concept of plate tectonics which is the study Of the plates that makeup the lithosphere, their movements and how these movements has influenced hanged in the surface’s topography (Stealer, 2011 , 389).
The movements of these plates form convergent plate boundary and divergent plate boundary and at each of these boundaries a different topographic relief id formed. At divergent the separation of oceanic plates forms oceanic ridges and at the convergent volcanoes, Fold Mountains, mountains and island arcs are formed. Features observed at these margins share some similarities but, also vary quite largely. These differences are caused by the different movements displayed at each boundary and the types of plates involved; oceanic or continental.