How fast is the plate moving (in cm/year)? SHOW YOUR WORK. (PLATE VELOCITY)


a math-based problem asking you to calculate plate velocity using a hot spot track.


Calculating plate velocity using hot spots

To find out the speed (velocity) of motion of plates you will need to use the following equation





with v= velocity (or rate of motion), d= distance and t=time. To get full credit (assuming you have done all your work correctly) you need to also show all of your mathematical work, as well as the unit conversions. Your textbook has conversion tables in the Appendix. However to make it easier for you I am including the ones you will need below:1km=1000 m

1m=100 cm

therefore: 1km= 100,000 cm

The diagram below is a series of volcanic islands, with their ages labeled. In the next page, answer the following questions:

1. Provide 2 observable lines of evidence (they must be observations that you can make simply looking at the map) that this is a hot spot chain and not an island arc . These must be observations you can make strictly from looking at the map and not related to any other knowledge about hot spots or island arcs.

2. In the above diagram, in what direction is the plate moving?

3. How fast is the plate moving (in cm/year)? SHOW YOUR WORK


Volcano erupting

4 million years old

2 million years old

0 200 km 400 km 600 km 800km

8 million years old

6 million years old