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?
a) 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 .
b) We need to convert 4.0 cm/year to km/My.
Therefore, the speed of the tectonic plates is 40 km/My.