Plate Tectonics Theory

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by ashuhlynn
Last updated 6 years ago

Earth Sciences

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Plate Tectonics Theory

A lithosphere is the rigid outermost shell of a rocky planet. The lithosphere is always moving, but very slowly. It is broken into huge sections called tectonic plates

Close examination of a globe often results in the observation that most of the continents seem to fit together like a puzzle. Another observation favoring continental drift was the presence of evidence for continental glaciation in the Pensylvanian period. Wegener's drift hypothesis also provided an alternate explanation for the formation of mountains. The theory being discussed during his time was the "Contraction theory" which suggested that the planet was once a molten ball and in the process of cooling the surface cracked and folded up on itself. The big problem with this idea was that all mountain ranges should be approximately the same age, and this was known not to be true. Wegener's explanation was that as the continents moved, the leading edge of the continent would encounter resistance and thus compress and fold upwards forming mountains near the leading edges of the drifting continents. Wegener eventually proposed a mechanism for continental drift that focused on his assertion that the rotation of the earth created a centrifugal force towards the equator. He believed that Pangaea originated near the south pole and that the centrifugal force of the planet caused the protocontinent to break apart and the resultant continents to drift towards the equator. In 1929, Wegener's ideas began to be dismissed.

According to the theory of continental drift, the world was made up of a single continent through most of geologic time. The first comprehensive theory of continental drift was suggested by the German meteorologist Alfred Wegener in 1912.

Plate Tectonic Theory

There are three types of plate boundaries. They are divergent, convergent and oblique slip (transform). Each boundary type has its own characteristic geologic features and processes, by which it can be identified even millions of years after it has been active. They for mountsains, volcanoes, earhtquakes, etc.

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