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The Earth changes its appearance

The Earth is an active planet and this activity is demonstrated in two spectacular ways: earthquakes and volcanoes. However, the expression of this activity does not just happen at random but in characteristic areas and according to clearly-defined movements with known consequences. These elements of the theory of plate tectonics also allow us to resolve scientific enigmas about the distribution of fossils. If this arouses your curiosity, come explore the secrets of how the Earth changes!


Script, animation & direction : Yannick Mahé
Design, animation & development : Thomas Cussonneau
Illustration : Gilles Macagno
Text : Adeline André
Production : CNDP (2010)


Scientific expert

Hervé Regnauld

Hervé Regnauld

Costel, UMR 6554 CNRS, Université de Rennes 2, France
Epistemology of physical geography

«The planet’s tectonic activity controls the layout of virtually all the world’s major land masses and therefore sets the general framework on which the different living species settled and evolved over the course of geological history. It also controls the layout of oceans and therefore the climate which is closely connected to the major sea currents. It also allows us to explain the lines along which the major volcanoes are located, the areas with the most volcanoes and the dangers that can threaten human settlements.  On a more local level, plate tectonics plays an important role in the formation of many coastal regions. Along these coastlines it is interesting to study the result of plate tectonics, what comes from the erosive or constructive activity of the waves and to understand how, and at what rate such areas change. This is the prerequisite for any development.»


Canopé Ludwig Maximilians Universität München Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster