Exploratour - Comparing the Surfaces of Earth and Mars

Plate Tectonics

The following table discusses plate tectonics on Earth and Mars.


This animated diagram illustrates seafloor spreading on Earth.
Click on image for full size version (40K GIF)
Image courtesy of NOAA/NESDIS/National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, CO.

This animation shows how seafloor spreading works on Earth. The age of the ocean floor in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is shown in colors. The animation shows that as time moves forward, the American continents are separated from the Eurasian and African continents. The red sections are the youngest portions of the ocean floor, where fresh new crust is brought forth from the deep interior of the Earth. The blue portions are the oldest regions and are near regions of the Earth where subduction is taking place.

The red regions in the animation are associated with mid-ocean spreading ridges. These are areas of the Earth's crust where the ocean floor is being forced to spread apart. The continents drift along on top of the crust as it spreads apart.


This is a map of the entire Martian surface.
Click on image for full size version (123K GIF)
Image courtesy of NASA.

As the map above shows, the elevated areas of the Martian surface (colored in red) are concentrated on the southern hemisphere of Mars. This would suggest that a single, large plate has formed on Mars, with no subsequent plate tectonics.

Leave the tour and read more about Plate Tectonics.

Leave the tour and read more about the evolution of Mars.

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