Lab+6+Plates+and+Rocks - EAS 1601 Lab 6: Plate Tectonics...

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EAS 1601 Lab 6: “Plate Tectonics and the Rock Cycle” Sample Prelab Quiz (note: actual quiz may differ) 1. Name 3 major types of plate boundaries (2 pts). 2. Near what plate boundary do you expect the mountains to form? (2 pts). 3. Name three major classes of rocks (2 pts). 4. What class of rocks do you expect to find next to a mid-ocean ridge? (2 pts). 5. Presence of what factors makes chemical weathering of the rocks possible? (2 pts). 1
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EAS 1601 Lab 8: “Plate Tectonics and the Rock Cycle” Introduction: Plate Tectonics The theory of plate tectonics is relatively new, being developed and accepted in the last 50 or so years. Although geology has been studied for several centuries, early observations that the coasts of South America and Africa fit together were often attributed to Judeo-Christian biblical catastrophes, such as the great flood. During this time, science and religion (in the European world, anyway) were closely connected, and observations in the rock record that pointed to the existence of other climates, such as finding fossil shark teeth in the Alps, were taken as proof that events in the bible had indeed occurred. In the 19th century, the work of James Hutton changed the way that geology was interpreted. Hutton’s statement "the present is the key to the past" meant that rocks had been formed by processes similar to what was occurring at present. This is known as uniformitarianism. Uniformitarianism led to the origin of the Continental Drift theory, proposed by Alfred Wegener, a German meteorologist. These ideas were put forward in a book “ Die Enstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane ” (The Origin of Continents and Oceans), which was published during the First World War. He used observations of similar rock formations on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean as proof that the continents of Africa and South America had once been together. Wegener’s ideas were discounted, mainly because he had no mechanism that would explain why the continents had drifted apart. As more geologists looked at the evidence Wegener presented and collected other evidence that showed continents had once been together and had later separated, they began to look for reasons why. The answer came out of World War II. Submarines were an important weapon. Because of this, the first maps of the ocean floor were produced. Long chains of mountains in the middle of the ocean were found. To explain this, in the 1960’s, it was proposed by H.H. Hess, that the continents moved in response to sea-floor spreading. This theory stated that new crust was being formed at these ridges and that the continents were simply rafts being pushed along. As more observations were made, geologists continued to build the theory. The first use of the term Plate Tectonics is credited to Frederick Vine, in 1968. By
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2011 for the course EAS 1601 taught by Professor Lynch during the Spring '08 term at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Lab+6+Plates+and+Rocks - EAS 1601 Lab 6: Plate Tectonics...

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