Skip Navigation
Button that takes you to the Dinosaur Floor page.Button that takes you to the Earth Floor page.Button that takes you to the Resource Room page.Button that takes you to the Teacher's Lounge page.Button that takes you to the Elevator page.
     

Image that says Plate Tectonics.
Image of a graph that displays the Transform Boundary.  Please have someone assist you with this.

Transform Boundaries
Places where plates slide past each other are called transform boundaries. Since the plates on either side of a transform boundary are merely sliding past each other and not tearing or crunching each other, transform boundaries lack the spectacular features found at convergent and divergent boundaries. Instead, transform boundaries are marked in some places by linear valleys along the boundary where rock has been ground up by the sliding. In other places, transform boundaries are marked by features like stream beds that have been split in half and the two halves have moved in opposite directions.

Perhaps the most famous transform boundary in the world is the San Andreas fault, shown in the drawing above. The slice of California to the west of the fault is slowly moving north relative to the rest of California. Since motion along the fault is sideways and not vertical, Los Angeles will not crack off and fall into the ocean as popularly thought, but it will simply creep towards San Francisco at about 6 centimeters per year. In about ten million years, the two cities will be side by side!

Although transform boundaries are not marked by spectacular surface features, their sliding motion causes lots of earthquakes. The strongest and most famous earthquake along the San Andreas fault hit San Francisco in 1906. Many buildings were shaken to pieces by the quake, and much of the rest of the city was destroyed by the fires that followed. More than 600 people died as a result of the quake and fires. Recent large quakes along the San Andreas include the Imperial Valley quake in 1940 and the Loma Prieta quake in 1989.

Back

 

 


Image that says Earth Floor.
Button that takes you to the Diversity page.
Button that takes you to the Adaptation page.
Button that takes you to the Plate Tectonics page.
 Button that takes you to the Cycles page.
Button that takes you to the Spheres page.
Button that takes you to the Biomes page.
Button that takes you to the Geologic Time page.

Plate Tectonics
Convergent Boundaries
Divergent Boundaries
Image of a star. Transform Boundaries
 
             
     
Button that takes you to the Exploring the Environment home page.

Plate Tectonics | Convergent Boundaries | Divergent Boundaries | Transform Boundaries

Diversity | Adaptation | Plate Tectonics | Cycles | Spheres | Biomes | Geologic Time

  Image of a castle that links back to the MSESE home page.  
Button that takes you to the Dinosaur Floor page.Button that takes you to the Earth Floor page.Button that takes you to the Resource Room page.Button that takes you to the Teacher's Lounge page.Button that takes you to the Elevator page.

Site maintained by the ETE Team
Last updated on
April 28, 2005

Some images 2004 www.clipart.com

Privacy Statement and Copyright 1997-2004 by Wheeling Jesuit University/NASA-supported Classroom of the Future. All rights reserved.

Center for Educational Technologies, Circuit Board/Apple graphic logo, and COTF Classroom of the Future logo are registered trademarks of Wheeling Jesuit University.