The development and background of plate tectonics
Plate tectonics emanates from two words; plate and tectonic. Plate in geological terms suggests a significant slab of challenging rock despite the fact that tectonics in Greek implies’ to build’. Therefore’ plate tectonic tend to be described as how the earth’s builds on going the plate. It could possibly also be well-defined like a section of your Earth’s lithosphere that’s rigid moves distinctively from those people surrounding it (Rodger, 1993).
Concept of plate tectonics states which the lithosphere on the earth is constructed up of specific plates that fragmented into a couple of sizeable and smaller parts of dependable rock. The plates transfer next to each other along with the lesser mantle to create diverse types of plate borders that have formed the Earth’s landscape greater than a wide range of ages. (Oreske & Legrand, 2001).
Alfred Wegener, a populous meteorologist, is known to be the founder with the plate tectonic idea. He noticed the coastline of East South America and that belonging to 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 large plate called Pangaea which gradually began to drift apart around 300 million a long time ago (Rodger, 1993).
More scientific research on the plates’ coastline revealed that all the plate of earth’s continent somehow fit together. The idea, commonly known as continental drift concept, and Wegener became the founder of your idea on which scientist have based on their research.great site
However, Alfred Wegener plate tectonics concept 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 in 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 concept of thermal convection to explain the gradual drift of your Earth’s continents. He based on heating and cooling cycle for the Earth’s mantle that caused the continents to go. The Wegner’s idea being borrowed by scientist community in their quest for earth’s shape.
Today scientist have researched and analyzed past pieces of evidence and findings by geologist and scientist to expound and come up with a better ways of explaining plate tectonic concept and forces that were behind the drifting within 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 of your some plate from the main one. Numerous 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 within 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 principle. The large convection current of molten material in the Earth’s upper mantle produces a lot of energies which is transferred to reduce mantle. The lower mantle material finds their way to the crust causing the embedded rock to go away and out from the ridge thus moving 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 for the plates. Then lastly earth rotation is caused by centrifugal forces as the earth rotates (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001).
Plates make different forms belonging to the boundaries as they interact with their movement. Some within 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 within 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 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 belonging to the earth is the way it is, scientist community has advanced the methodology of studying the plate tectonic principle currently. They use the satellite to study evidences of plate tectonic where they position it a great many kilometers away from the earth surface. From the satellite statistics, it is evidenced which the plates move linearly and away from each other at the speed of 10mm to 100mm per year. Thus proving that plate tectonic theory which is earth was once one plate that gradually drifted apart greater than millions of many years back to form the current continents.