Tectonic plates press against one another in some places (convergence), pull apart in other places (divergence), or slide past each other. These plate movements may result in the formation of mountain ranges, and can lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. The consequences of these events impact the surrounding atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and the life existing within them.
Earth’s dynamic systems are made up of the solid earth (geosphere), the oceans, lakes, rivers, glaciers and ice sheets (hydrosphere), the atmosphere, and organisms (biosphere). Interactions among these spheres have resulted in ongoing changes to the system. Some of these changes can be measured on a human time scale, but others occur so slowly, that they must be inferred from geological evidence.
Earth’s components form systems. These systems continually interact at different rates of time, affecting the Earth locally and globally.