Earth’s Structure and Plate Tectonics

Earth’s Structure and Plate Tectonics - EARTHS STRUCTURE...

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EARTH’S STRUCTURE AND PLATE TECTONICS
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Scientific Method Used for investigating phenomena, to acquire new knowledge and improve upon previous knowledge Steps: Hypothesis- Make a hypothesis Prediction- Make predictions from the hypothesis Testing- Experiment based on theses predictions Analysis- What did the testing show?
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Continental Drift Alfred Wegener (1880-1930) German meteorologist and polar explorer set forth Continental Drift theory in 1912 published "The Origin of Continents and Oceans" in 1915 outlined the evidence for Continental Drift Maybe the continents were floating on the ocean?
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Wegener’s Evidence Fit of the Continents continental coastlines form a puzzle-like fit (later geoscientists found that edges of continental shelves form an even better fit) believed that all continents were once joined into a single huge supercontinent (Pangaea) surrounded by a World ocean (Panthalassa) After initial breakup Southern landmass- Gondwana Northern landmass- Laurasia
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Wegener’s Evidence Fossils distribution of the fossil plant Glossopteris and the reptile Mesosaurus indicates land masses were once joined
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Glossopteris Flora
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Wegener’s Evidence Paleoclimatology distribution of glacial deposits (tillites), ancient deserts and reefs, and coal deposits indicate the continents were one joined and were at different paleoaltitudes
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Wegener’s Evidence Geologic Evidence matching of different rock types indicate that the continents were once joined Mountain ranges
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Assembly of Pangaea Stratigraphy of Gondwana
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Problems with the theory Why do continents break apart? How did they get into their current positions? Lacking the mechanism for movement Theory fades away, all the while, earth is still being studied
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Plate Tectonics Wegener’s Theory was brought back to life in the 50s and 60s Due to increased knowledge of Earth’s structure and ocean studies And a little help from…
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Harry Hess Extensive Oceanic mapping had been done in 1950s Revealed an oceanic ridge system -extensive mountain range more than 65,000 km long From this research, Hess proposed the theory of seafloor spreading New crust is formed at mid-ocean ridges and moves outward
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Seafloor Spreading the process through which plates diverge and new lithosphere is created at mid- oceanic ridges youngest rocks are nearest to the mid- oceanic ridges during seafloor spreading the polarity of the Earth's magnetic field alternates, which is preserved as bands of normal and reversed polarity "stripes" in the magnetized basaltic crust
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