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Interactive Plate Tectonics Model

Avg. Ratings: 1.0 (1 Review)
This realistically illustrated, labeled resin model helps educators explain the functions and elements of plate tectonics.

  • Hand-Painted
  • A Great Fit for Classroom Demonstrations
  • Geodynamic Phenomena Displayed in Three-Part Model
  • Topics Include Sea-Floor Spreading, Volcanism, and More
  • Model Mounted on Wooden Base
The model uses sliding and removable parts to explore topics such as sea-floor spreading, convergent and divergent boundaries, volcanism, and active and passive continental margins.

The model is mounted on a sturdy, wooden base.



Item # Height Length Width Description Unit Availability Price Quantity
470006-586 51/2" 161/2" 10 1/4" Plate Tectonics Model
Each Retrieving


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Total Ratings: 1
Avg. Ratings: 1.0 out of 5

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Yes: 3 No: 0 
SMB Education / Laboratory Staff: Geology / McKinney, TX
No, I didn't recommend
First, the positives: The ocean floor part of the model is decent, though there are some inaccuracies (see below). The Mid-ocean ridge is fairly accurate, depicting various geologic structures associated with divergent boundaries (i.e. rift valley, transform faults, the MOR, itself, etc...). I like the plastic ocean surface, it gives the model depth (no pun intended), and the fact that they included an accretionary wedge with each subduction zone is pretty cool. Now...the bad stuff: Supposedly, the model was designed with a built in transform boundary (a portion of the model is detached from the rest, allowing for slight transform motion). First off, this detached piece is only "attached" to the model by the flimsy plastic of the ocean surface, and breakage is a certainty if the model is handled without utmost gentleness. Geologically, the associated landforms are...confusing. Transform boundaries lack proper continental shelves (the model depicts a well-developed shelf), as well as irregular, ridge-and-basin topography (not present), and active strike-slip faulting (also not present). Secondly, the continental lithosphere is depicted as being entirely sedimentary (at least it looks that way to me), with little to no mafic basement. Then, suddenly, mantle (or asthenosphere...or's difficult to tell)! Methinks this is the main failing of the model: There is little to no distinction between crust, lithosphere, asthenosphere, and lower mantle. The lava flow on the ocean floor is far too large (erupted lava usually fills depressions with maybe a little bit of spill-over onto the ocean floor--not ocean-sized flood basalts). I could keep going, but I'm going to cut myself off here. Suffice to say the model is highly inaccurate and flimsy, ESPECIALLY along the "transform boundary." I ended up repainting mine so that it's accurate enough for classroom use. I would not recommend purchasing this model unless you're planning to do the same. Then again, for ~$400, you're probably better off building one from scratch. Cheers!
Reply associate Published 09/13/2018
Thank you for your feedback. We are disappointed to hear the Plate Tectonics Model did not meet your expectations. We stand behind the quality of our products, and we want you to be fully satisfied with your purchase. Our 30-day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on every product ensures that you can be confident in the products you purchase from Ward’s Science – or we’ll provide a full refund, replacement, or credit when you contact our Customer Care Team at 800-962-2660.
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