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Surface Vibration and Movement

Did you know that in the last minute you've travelled 16 miles?


You may think this sounds strange if you’re sitting at home but the earth is travelling at an incredible 1000 miles an hour!

You just don’t really feel the speed because it’s like when you’re in a train or car – everything around you is moving at the same speed!

Planets move in all sorts of ways you might not realise, including under your feet right now!

Tectonic plates

tectonic-platesUnder your feet, the Earth’s crust and upper part of the mantle are broken into large pieces called tectonic plates. These are constantly moving at a few centimetres each year.

Although this doesn’t sound like very much, over millions of years the movement allows whole continents to shift thousands of kilometres. This process is called continental drift.

If you look at all the countries on a map or globe, it’s a bit like a jigsaw that’s been pulled apart!

This is all because of continental drift.  Continents floating slowly apart is one thing but where the plates meet, things get a lot more unstable…

Earthquakes and volcanoes

You might think that because we don’t get earthquakes here in the UK, that there isn’t much tectonic activity here.

But there are actually quite a few earthquakes in the UK – every month! They just tend to be too small to feel!

If you can visit the Natural History Museum in London, there’s a special earthquake room where feel what a big one is like!

There used to be a load of volcanoes in the UK too!

In Devon, for example, you’ll find a lot of pumice. Pumice is a stone made from lava… and you get lava from – volcanoes!

Luckily, the volcanoes were erupting in this part of the planet many millions of years ago!

Edinburgh’s another place where you can see an old volcano – the castle’s built on one!

Shows you things don’t stay the same on planets!

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Earth Watch

It's Earth Watch from Deep Space High!

More From Earth Watch