Topographical Features at Divergent and Convergent Plate Margins

1275 words 6 pages
Essay Question 1: Compare and contrast the topographical features at divergent and convergent plate margins.
Subject: Earth Environments 1: Geomorphology and Soils
Course Code: GEOG 1231

Divergent and convergent plate margins are both studied in plate tectonics; which is the study of the plates that makeup the lithosphere, their movements and how these movements has influenced changes in the surface’s topography (Strahler, 2011, 389). The driving force that causes these plate movements is the gradual movement of the semi-molten rock that makes up the asthenosphere (Kious, 1996, 28). Features observed at these margins share some similarities but, also vary quite largely. These differences are caused by the different movements displayed at
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For this reason the features found here although similar in some respects are quite different in their own regard.
At convergent plate margins including two oceanic plates there is the subduction or sinking of one of the plates beneath the other. This leads to the formation of deep sea trenches a feature not found at divergent plat margins. This trench develops directly above the subduction zone. Also close to these subduction zones volcanoes a feature common to both plate boundaries may develop. However the volcanoes that form at convergent plate margins are significantly different from those at divergent plate margins. These volcanoes are known as andesitic as this is the type of lava which it produces. These volcanoes develop cone shaped domes not apparent in the rift volcanoes (“Volcanoes”). Over time these volcanoes can grow as one of the plates continues to subduct, causing more and more magma to be pushed to the surface to form volcanic islands such as Montserrat.

There are also several other features that occur at convergent plate margins including two continental plates. At these margins faulting also exists however instead of normal faulting found at divergent plate margins reverse faulting occurs. This is where due to compression part of the crust rises above the other (“Reverse Faults”). Another aspect that influences topography at these margins is folding. This refers to the compaction of rock upon rock due to compression forces. This folding has