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What are plate margins Plate margins are the edges of the plates where all the power of nature is released in earthquakes and volcanoes There are three main types of plate margins - Spreading Boundaries There are two types of spreading boundary Ridges where new rock is formed pushing the plates apart and Rift where the plates pull apart and the earth between them sinks On the ocean floor the plates are spreading All along the mid ocean ridge volcanic activity is pouring new lava out onto the seabed As it hardens it becomes new rock gradually pushing the crust on either side of it away Another type of spreading boundary is the African Rift Valley As the two plates are moving apart the earth between them is becoming stretched As it stretches it sinks because it is thinner It is a little bit like taking a piece of gum and stretching it out The pieces in your fingers stay thick but the piece in the middle gets thinner and thinner as it is stretched Converging Boundaries Converging coming together Boundaries are where two plates are banging into each other What happens when they collide depends on the type of plate they are In a subduction zone one plate is being pushed beneath the other It happens when a lighter plate hits a heavy plate The lighter plate is pushed under the heavier one This often happens where continents meet the ocean As the lighter ocean crust is forced downwards it takes water with it The water causes the rock to melt at lower temperatures than normal The pressure inside the earth is much greater than at the surface it increases the deeper you go The new molten rock tends to rise to the area of lower pressure sometimes forming volcanoes It is not uncommon to find volcanoes along a converging boundary on the side of the heavier plate In a deformation
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