Tectonic Plates

I was working on the project regarding the rift system, also at the same time earthquakes in Turkey and Syria happened, so somehow naturally I drifted towards tectonics, and tectonic plates and thought that it would be interesting to make the ‘exploded view’ of the tectonic plates. I know there are a lot of them on internet, I just had an idea to make it in my style, with lava-glowing edges. However, while making first drafts and looking on the internet for the details I realized that in many cases, in such ‘exploded view’ illustrations there is a problem that all tectonic boundaries look like either divergent or transform but the subduction, or rather the subducted part of the plate is invisible and, even though there might be marking of the subduction edge it is still difficult to imagine, especially for non-geo person.

So I search for subduction data, found USGS Slab 2.0 data (https://www.usgs.gov/tools/slab20-interactive-map). Nice, clean, open data, articles available, etc., just google for more. And included that slab data into my animation.

The subduction slabs are all in scale, i.e. there is no vertical exaggeration. And what surprised me is how big and deep they are. I am not trying to pretend to be an expert in tectonics, so, yea, it did surprise me, as I, for some reason, had a picture in my head that they are more shallow.

The surface elevations are all flattened to 0, as it is so tiny compared to whole globe that is gives more visual noise to the animation than the actual benefit.

Also,  simplified model at the exploded view is available on on sketchfab: https://skfb.ly/oEQTW

I am fully aware that some details regarding the plate boundaries or depths of the certain parts of the slabs might be debatable, or that something is too simplified. But I’ll leave it to experts and as a disclaimer will call this animation a pop-geo-animation even though it is based on actual GIS data and is all in scale :)) Enjoy!