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Plate Tectonic Stories

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Stories

Badcall, Scotland

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Yoredales, Yorkshire

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Cwm Idwal, Wales

 

Stanage Edge, Peak District

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Sperrin Mountains, NI

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Hartland Quay, Devon

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Southern Uplands, Scotland
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Amroth-Saundersfoot-Tenby

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Ben Arnaboll, Scotland
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Vale of Eden, Cumbria

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Pseudotachylytes, Scotland

 

Zechstein Reefs, North Sea

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Clogerhead and Shannon
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Alderley Edge, Cheshire

Alderley Edge Narrow image

Cairngorms, Scotland
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Isle of Skye, Scotland

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Great Glen Fault, Scotland

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Lulworth & the Wessex Basin
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The Lizard, Cornwall

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Causeway Coast

Giants Causeway small image































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A bit more about our stories and competition

Plate Tectonic Stories

The Geological Society is celebrating 50 years of plate tectonics. In December 1967, Dan McKenzie and Bob Parker published a paper in Nature – ‘The North Pacific: an example of tectonics on a sphere’. This paper, building on work by many other scientists in the preceding years, was arguably the crucial final step in establishing the paradigm of plate tectonics, which provided a unifying context for the previously disparate disciplines of Earth science and was rapidly accepted across the geological community. 

Since then, plate tectonics has arguably become the one ‘big idea’ in Earth science that just about everyone knows something about. It has also entered into wider usage as a metaphor for slow and seemingly inexorable change, perhaps most often used and abused by political commentators! But most school students who learn about this fundamental concept in Earth science probably have no idea that its origins are within living memory, and some of those whose work underpinned it remain active researchers.

To mark this milestone anniversary, and to celebrate the important role of narrative and storytelling in geology, the Geological Society has developed Plate Tectonic Stories – an online resource that tells the story of 20 geological sites showing how the UK and Ireland have been shaped by plate tectonic processes, and highlighting other 'twin' sites across the world where similar processes and features can be observed. You can start exploring the sites by following the links below.

We also held a Plate Tectonic Stories competition to celebrate the anniversary. School students, members of the public and enthusiastic geologists told us their own plate tectonic stories through model making, lace, felt work, poems, animations and even raps! 

See our Plate Tectonic Stories competition entries here

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Plate Tectonic Stories Posters

Educational posters designed for Key stage 2-3 and Key Stage 4-5