The development and history of plate tectonics

The development and history of plate tectonics

Plate tectonics comes from two words; plate and tectonic. Plate in geological conditions usually means a considerable slab of tricky rock although tectonics in Greek implies’ to build’. Therefore’ plate tectonic can certainly be outlined as how the earth’s builds on shifting the plate. It may well even be well-defined like a phase within the Earth’s lithosphere that’s rigid moves distinctively from those people bordering it (Rodger, 1993).

Theory of plate tectonics states that the lithosphere on the earth is designed up of individual plates that fragmented into numerous considerable and smaller parts of strong rock. The plates go following to each other in addition to the lesser mantle to produce various styles of plate borders which have shaped the Earth’s landscape in excess of various many years. (Oreske & Legrand, 2001).

Alfred Wegener, a populous meteorologist, is known to be the founder from the plate tectonic principle. He noticed the coastline of East South America and that on the west coast of Africa seemed to fit together in a jigsaw manner like to form a bigger plate. He then proposed an idea that all plates (continents) connected to a single huge plate called Pangaea which gradually began to drift apart in excess of 300 million yrs ago (Rodger, 1993).

More scientific research on the plates’ coastline revealed that all the plate of earth’s continent somehow fit together. The theory, commonly known as continental drift idea, and Wegener became the founder of your concept on which scientist have based on their research.customessaysinuk.com/report-writing

However, Alfred Wegener plate tectonics idea could not ascertain how exactly the continents drifted away from each other. He proposed the earth’s rotations and the centrifugal forces towards the equator as one for the possible mechanism for continental drift. He said that Pangaea started at South Pole and earth’s rotation finally caused it to break up, sending continents toward the equator. His theories were discarded by the scientific community (Rodger, 1993).

Arthur Holmes, (1929), a British geologist, came up with the principle of thermal convection to explain the gradual drift in the Earth’s continents. He based on heating and cooling cycle of the Earth’s mantle that caused the continents to move. The Wegner’s idea being borrowed by scientist community in their quest for earth’s shape.

Today scientist have researched and analyzed past parts of evidence and findings by geologist and scientist to expound and come up with a better ways of explaining plate tectonic theory and forces that were behind the drifting on the plates. It is believed and proofed using geological evidence that earth’s plate at one time was one big supercontinent called Pangaea. Due to three main driving forces namely, mantle convection, gravity, and the Earth’s rotation led to the drifting away with the many plate from the main one. Plenty of major plates (continents) formed which include North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, Indo-Australian, Pacific, and Antarctica.

Expounding on the three main driving forces for the movement in the Earth’s tectonic plates; Mantle convection is the most extensively studied technique of tectonic plate movement. It was widely discussed by Holmes in 1929, in his concept. The giant convection current of molten material in the Earth’s upper mantle produces a lot of energies which is transferred to decreased mantle. The lesser mantle material finds their way to the crust causing the embedded rock to move away and out from the ridge thus relocating the plate. Evident of this is present in mid-ocean ridges.

Gravity evidenced by the mid-ocean ridges where the elevation is higher than the surrounding ocean floor. Convection currents within the Earth cause decrease mantle material to rise and spread away from the ridge, causing the older material to flow toward the ocean floor due to gravity and aid in the movement of your plates. Then lastly earth rotation is caused by centrifugal forces as the earth rotates (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001).

Plates build different varieties with the boundaries as they interact with their movement. Some with the boundaries established include the Divergent boundaries form when a plate breaks along certain lines of weakness and go away from each and every other forming a new crust, for instance, Mid-ocean ridges. The other boundary is called Convergent boundaries and created when two plates collide with one another causing the sinking of one plate below the other. Transform boundaries forms at the location where new crust created and without destroying it.

Today, through research, scientists have come up with shreds of evidence proving that earth plates were once super plate that split into the current Continent. One belonging to the evidence is the jig-saw fitting on the East coast of South America, west coast of Africa appear to fit into one another. Also, Fossils remains of plants and animals collected by scientist around the world showed similarities that were cumbersome to explain unless continents had once joined. For instance, Cynognathus was a land reptile; its Fossils remain present both Africa and South America. Thus proving which the two continents joined as one, millions of a long time ago, (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001). Scientists have also found out from the evidence of earthquakes happened continually and occurred along certain lines, near the boundaries between tectonic plates.

As Wegener’s ideas form the basis why the landscape of your earth is the way it is, scientist community has advanced the methodology of studying the plate tectonic theory currently. They use the satellite to study evidences of plate tectonic where they position it a great number of kilometers away from the earth surface. From the satellite statistics, it is evidenced the plates transfer linearly and away from each individual other at the speed of 10mm to 100mm per year. Thus proving that plate tectonic concept that is earth was once one plate that gradually drifted apart above millions of many years back to form the current continents.

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