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Plate tectonics

The lithosphere of the Earth is broken into six major, and six smaller plates and various microplates that are in relative motion with respect to each other, over the underlying hotter and more fluid asthenosphere. Plate tectonics is the single coherent theory which reconciles continental drift, seafloor spreading and deep focus earthquakes and explains (most) of the tectonic phenomena such as folding, faulting, rifting as well as related seismic and volcanic activity as the result of the interaction between or fragmentation (break-off) of lithosphere plates. Thus, plate tectonics provides a modern paradigm for the whole Earth science community.