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A unifying, and relatively recent, theory which encompasses much
of the preceding evidence for a dynamic Earth is plate tectonics.
In this theory the Earth is believed to be composed of a number
of different plates which ``float'' (over a long time scale) over
the surface of the Earth. These boundaries of these plates are
indicated in the Figure below.
As well as explaining continental drift qualitatively, the
way that plates can meet provides us with an understanding
of many of the changes that occur on the Earth.