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In this activity students explore the difference between brittle and ductile deformation in everyday materials and how material behavior is influenced by temperature and the rate of deformation. They then apply the same concepts to rocks and to the occurrence of earthquakes and mountain ranges at plate boundaries. Students will understand that rocks are forced to change shape at tectonic plate boundaries, where great slabs of Earth's tectonic plates collide, move apart, or scrape past each other. Depending on a variety of factors, this shape change (deformation) can be accomplished either by brittle behavior (slip along fractures or faults) or by ductile behavior ("flowing" of solid rock) and through time these processes can build great mountain ranges.
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