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Item PT023001: Mountains on two different plates would move many miles apart over one million years.

The diagram below shows mountains on two plates that are moving apart. About how much will the distance between mountain A and mountain B change after one million (1,000,000) years? Assume that plates will continue to move at about the same rate as they are moving today.

  1. The distance between them will increase by about forty miles.
  2. The distance between them will increase by about forty inches.
  3. The mountains will move such a small amount that the distance will not be measurable.
  4. Mountains do not move so there will be no change in the distance between them.
Distribution of Responses
Chart showing distrubtion of responses for Item PT023001
Students Responding Correctly
Group Correct Total Percent
Overall 1288 3179 41%
  6–8 822 2051 40%
  9–12 459 1115 41%
Primary Language

View data table

The rate of plate motion is not specified in NGSS, although an evidence statement for performance expectation MS-ESS2-3 says that students should "identify relationships (including relationships that can be used to infer numerical rates of change, such as patterns of age of seafloor) in the datasets about Earth features."