These worksheets work on looking at how the Earth's plates move and make changes to planet we all know and love.

The concept of floating plates of Earth is usually easy to relate to kids that have gone paddle boarding before. There are eight major plates on the surface of the Earth. These plates are in constant motion. They just aren't moving sixty-miles per hour; more like inches per year. If we look deep inside (I mean really inside) the Earth we see that these plates are moving around upon molten rock. The heat and pressure generated by this creates waves of motion. If we were to come back and look at Earth a million years from now, all of our current maps would make no sense at all.

The titles in this section work on the concept of faults within the Earth and how the Earth itself changes over time. The key is how that movement, over time, causes major changes to the Earth over time.

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Print Tectonic Plates Worksheets

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San Andreas Fault

California's most famous fault is the San Andreas Fault and it is a strike-slip fault. Draw the San Andreas Fault on the map of California below and label the two different kinds of faults shown in the diagrams.

Continental Drift

250 million years ago there was only a single continent named Pangaea as shown in the first figure below.

Tectonic Puzzle Worksheet

Cut out the plates along the dotted lines and reassemble them on a separate sheet of paper.

Moving Plates

The Earth's crust is made of a set of tectonic plates, rigid rock plates, that are always in motion. Some of these plates have boundaries along the edges of the continents, but other boundaries are in the middle of the ocean.

When Plates Collide

Some of these plates are move toward each other and their edges come into contact. When one plate is pushed under another, a trench forms. The bottom edge descends down into the earth's mantle and melts into magma which can later rise and break through the earth's crust and result in a volcano.

Oil Drilling

Most oil is obtained from deposits thousands of feet beneath the Earth's surface. The oil is trapped under layers of nonporous rock like shale and these prevent the oil from passing through the rock layers.

Coral Reef

Coral reefs are formed by the growth of coral over long periods of time. Coral reefs are classified by the shape the reef has grown into and any bodies of water they enclose.

The Deadly Shakes

Below you will find a chart of the deadliest earthquakes recorded each year. Rank the earthquakes by the number of fatalities caused. Place a 1 next to the earthquake with the least fatalities, 2 for the earthquake with the next greatest number of fatalities, and so on.

The Deadly Shakes Question Sheet

What was the average number of fatalities caused as the result of major earthquakes that occurred between 1997 and 2006?

Data Inside the Earth

Describe the composition each layer of the Earth.

Inside the Earth (Inner / Outer)

Label the layers of the Earth.

Inside the Earth

Just the three main layers.

Label Layers of the Earth

It's just like we scooped out the ground.

More Layers of Earth

A key that is looking for functional definitions.

The Great Shakes Part 2

Scientists use a magnitude scale to express the energy released by an earthquake.

The Great Shakes Question Sheet

What was the location of the largest earthquake between 1996 and 2006?