AskDefine | Define tectonic

Dictionary Definition

tectonic adj
1 pertaining to the structure or movement of the earth's crust; "tectonic plates"; "tectonic valleys"
2 of or pertaining to construction or architecture [syn: architectonic]

User Contributed Dictionary



(tekton), builder


  1. of or relating to construction or to architecture
  2. of, relating to, or caused by large-scale movements of the Earth's lithosphere

Extensive Definition

This article discusses the geologic usage, for the philosophical or architectural usage see: Architectonics
Or see plate tectonics.
Tectonics, (from the Greek for "builder", tekton), is a field of study within geology concerned generally with the structures within the crust of the Earth (or other planets) and particularly with the forces and movements that have operated in a region to create these structures. Tectonics is concerned with the orogenies and tectonic development of cratons and tectonic terranes as well as the earthquake and volcanic belts which directly affect much of the global population. Tectonic studies are also important for understanding erosion patterns in geomorphology and as guides for the economic geologist searching for petroleum and metallic ores.
A subfield of tectonics that deals with tectonic phenomena in the geologically recent period is called neotectonics.
Tectonic studies have application to lunar and planetary studies, whether or not those bodies have active tectonic plate systems.
Since the 1960s, plate tectonics has become by far the dominant theory to explain the origin and forces responsible for the tectonic features of the continents and ocean basins.


  • Edward A. Keller (2001) Active Tectonics: Earthquakes, Uplift, and Landscape Prentice Hall; 2nd edition, ISBN 0-13-088230-5
  • Stanley A. Schumm, Jean F. Dumont and John M. Holbrook (2002) Active Tectonics and Alluvial Rivers, Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition, ISBN 0-521-89058-6

See also

tectonic in Tosk Albanian: Tektonik
tectonic in Arabic: تكتونيات
tectonic in German: Tektonik
tectonic in Estonian: Geotektoonika
tectonic in Modern Greek (1453-): Τεκτονική
tectonic in Spanish: Tectónica
tectonic in French: Tectonique
tectonic in Luxembourgish: Tektonik
tectonic in Mongolian: Тектоник
tectonic in Dutch: Tektoniek
tectonic in Norwegian: Tektonikk
tectonic in Polish: Tektonika (geologia)
tectonic in Portuguese: Tectónica
tectonic in Romanian: Tectonică
tectonic in Russian: Тектоника
tectonic in Slovak: Tektonika (geológia)
tectonic in Serbian: Геотектоника
tectonic in Sundanese: Téktonik
tectonic in Swedish: Tektonik
tectonic in Ukrainian: Тектоніка
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