plate tectonicsplate tectonics
Geol. the theory that the earth's surface consists of plates, or large crustal slabs, whose constant motion explains continental drift, mountain building, etc.
- (used with a sing. verb) A theory that explains the global distribution of geological phenomena such as seismicity, volcanism, continental drift, and mountain building in terms of the formation, destruction, movement, and interaction of the earth's lithospheric plates.
- (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The dynamics of plate movement.
- (geology) The large-scale movement of tectonic plates that contributes to continental drift.
- tectonic plates