How Fast Do Plates Move?
ES0810  The Hawaiian Ridge and Emperor Seamounts

This image shows the topography of the seafloor in a larger view of the northwestern Pacific Plate. Note Hawaii in the lower right of the image.

A chain of islands and seamounts (submerged or eroded islands, or volcanic rocks that never rose above sea level) that were built over the hot spot extends far beyond the islands you studied earlier. Part of the chain is called the Hawaiian Ridge, and another section is called the Emperor Seamounts. As with the Hawaiian Islands, the age of volcanic rocks on each seamount increases with distance from Hawaii.

  !   Use the ruler tool to measure distances the plate has moved, and use the information to calculate rates of plate motion.


Jennifer Loomis, TERC
Seafloor topography of the Northwestern Pacific Ocean


6. Calculate the average rate of plate motion for 0 - 40 million years ago (since the formation of the Daikakuji Seamount).

7. Calculate the average rate of plate motion for 40 - 60 million years ago (between formation of the Suiko and Daikakuji Seamounts).

Click here if you need help with these calculations.


 Step:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8