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Chapter_19_le - Plate Tectonics Physical Geology 11/e Chapter 19 Steve Kadel Glendale Community College Plate Tectonics Basic idea of plate

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Steve Kadel, Glendale Community College Plate Tectonics Physical Geology 11/e, Chapter 19
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Plate Tectonics Basic idea of plate tectonics - Earth’s surface is composed of a number of large, thick plates that move slowly and change in size Intense geologic activity is concentrated at plate boundaries , where plates move away, toward, or past each other Combination of continental drift and seafloor spreading hypotheses in late 1960s
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Early Case for Continental Drift Puzzle-piece fit of coastlines of Africa and South America has long been known In early 1900s, Alfred Wegener noted South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australia have almost identical late Paleozoic rocks and fossils Glossopteris (plant), Lystrosaurus and Cynognathus (animals) fossils found on all five continents Mesosaurus (reptile) fossils found in Brazil and South Africa only
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Early Case for Continental Drift Wegener reassembled continents into the supercontinent Pangaea Pangea initially separated into Laurasia and Gondwanaland Laurasia - northern supercontinent containing North America and Asia (excluding India) Gondwanaland - southern supercontinent containing South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australia Late Paleozoic glaciation patterns on southern continents best explained by their reconstruction into Gondwanaland
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Early Case for Continental Drift Coal beds of North America and Europe support reconstruction into Laurasia Reconstructed paleoclimate belts suggested polar wandering, potential evidence for Continental Drift Continental Drift hypothesis initially rejected Wegener could not come up with viable driving force continents should not be able to “plow through” sea floor rocks while crumpling themselves but not the sea floor
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Paleomagnetism and Continental Drift Revived Studies of rock magnetism allowed determination of magnetic pole locations (close to geographic poles) through time Paleomagnetism uses mineral magnetic alignment direction and dip angle to determine the direction and distance to the magnetic pole when rocks formed
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This note was uploaded on 06/13/2011 for the course GEOL 1403 taught by Professor Mulcahey during the Spring '11 term at Lone Star College System.

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Chapter_19_le - Plate Tectonics Physical Geology 11/e Chapter 19 Steve Kadel Glendale Community College Plate Tectonics Basic idea of plate

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