Tectonic plates are large segments of the Earth’s crust that move slowly. Suppose that one such plate has an average speed of 4.0 cm/year.
(a) What distance does it move in 1.0 s at this speed?
(b) What is its speed in kilometers per million years?
We know that the formula for the distance traveled, d, if we are given rate, r, and time, t is given by
Therefore, the distance traveled is
Therefore, the distance traveled by the tectonic plate is about
We need to convert 4.0 cm/year to km/My.
Therefore, the speed of the tectonic plates is 40 km/My.