Attempt over the Development and Background of Plate Tectonics

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Attempt over the Development and Background of Plate Tectonics

Plate tectonics emanates from two text; plate and tectonic. Plate in geological conditions means a sizable slab of tough rock although tectonics in Greek implies’ to build’. Therefore’ plate tectonic is usually described as how the earth’s is developed on relocating the plate. It can even be well-defined being a rigid phase from the Earth’s lithosphere that moves independently from people bordering it (Rodger, 1993). Principle of plate tectonics states the lithosphere from the earth is created up of specific plates that are fragmented into several large and small parts of strong rock. The plates shift next to one another in addition to the decreased mantle to make varied varieties of plate borders that have formed the Earth’s landscape over several decades. (Oreske & Legrand, 2001). Alfred Wegener, a popular meteorologist, is known to be the founder of the plate tectonic concept; He noticed that the coastline of East South America and that of 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) were once connected to a single massive plate called Pangaea which gradually began to drift apart over 300 million years ago (Rodger, 1993). More scientific research within the plates’ coastline revealed that all the plate of earth’s continent somehow fit together. The idea was commonly known as continental drift concept, and Wegener became the founder of the idea on which scientist have based their research on. However, Alfred Wegener plate tectonics idea could not ascertain how exactly the continents drifted away from each and every other. He proposed the earth’s rotations and the centrifugal forces towards the equator as one of your 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 idea of thermal convection to explain the gradual drift in the Earth’s continents. He based on heating and cooling cycle in the Earth’s mantle that caused the continents to transfer. The idea has been borrowed by scientist community in their quest for earth’s shape. Today scientist have researched and analyzed past evidences 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 of your plates. It is believed and proofed using geological evidence that earth’s plate at one time was one super plate called Pangaea. Due to three main driving forces namely, mantle convection, gravity, and the Earth’s rotation led to the drifting away of several plate from the main one. Various major plates (continents) were formed which include North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, Indo-Australian, Pacific, and Antarctica. Expounding around the three main driving forces for the movement from 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 theory. The substantial convection current of molten material in the Earth’s upper mantle produces a lot of energies which is transferred to reduce mantle. The reduced mantle material finds their way to the crust causing the embedded rock to shift out and away from the ridge thus transferring the plate. Evidence of this is shown at mid-ocean ridges. Gravity is evidenced by the mid-ocean ridges where the elevation is higher than the bordering ocean floor. Convection currents within the Earth cause lessen 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 from the plates. Then lastly earth rotation is caused by centrifugal forces as earth rotates (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001). Plates form different kinds of boundary as they interact with their movement. Some of your boundaries formed include Divergent boundaries form when a plate breaks along certain lines of weakness and shift away from every single other forming a new crust, for instance, Mid-ocean ridges. The other boundary is called Convergent boundaries and is created when two plates collide with one another causing the sinking of one plate below the other. Transform boundaries forms at location where new crust created and without destroying it. Today, through research, scientists have come up with quite a few evidences proving that earth plates were once super plate which split into the current Continents. Some of the evidences include: the jig-saw fitting of your East coast of South America and west coast of Africa appear to fit into one another; Fossils remains of plants and animals collected by scientist around the world showed similarities that were difficult to explain unless continents had once been joined. For instance, Cynognathus was a land reptile. Its Fossils remains have been found in both Africa and South America, thus proving which the two continents were once joined (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001). Scientist 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 forms the basis why the landscape from the earth is the way it is, scientist community have currently advanced methodology of studying the plate tectonic theory. They use satellite to study evidences of plate tectonic where they position it several kilometers away from the earth surface. From the satellite statistics, it is evidenced which the plates go linearly and away from each and every other at the speed of 10mm to 100mm per year, thus, proving the plate tectonic concept that is earth was once plate which gradually drifted apart more than millions of yrs back to form the current continents.


Oreskes, N., & LeGrand, H. E. (2001). Plate tectonics: An insider’s history of your modern concept of the Earth. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press. Rogers, J. J. W. (1993). A record with the earth. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.

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