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< BackNext >PreviewMain Chapter 7: Plate Tectonics Section 2: Restless Continents.

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Presentation on theme: "< BackNext >PreviewMain Chapter 7: Plate Tectonics Section 2: Restless Continents."— Presentation transcript:

1 < BackNext >PreviewMain Chapter 7: Plate Tectonics Section 2: Restless Continents

2 < BackNext >PreviewMain Section 2 Restless Continents Chapter 7 Wegener’s Continental Drift Hypothesis Continental drift is the hypothesis that states that continents once formed a single landmass, broke up, and drifted to their present locations. Scientist Alfred Wegener developed the hypothesis in the early 1900s.

3 < BackNext >PreviewMain Fossils of Mesosaurus, a small, aquatic reptile, and Glossopteris, an ancient plant species, have been found on several continents.

4 < BackNext >PreviewMain Section 2 Restless Continents Chapter 7 The Breakup of Pangaea Wegener theorized that all of the present continents were once joined in a single, huge continent he called Pangaea. Pangaea is Greek for “all earth.” Pangaea existed about 245 million years ago.

5 < BackNext >PreviewMain The Drifting Continents

6 < BackNext >PreviewMain Section 2 Restless Continents Chapter 7 Sea-Floor Spreading Evidence to support the continental drift hypothesis comes from sea-floor spreading. Sea-floor spreading is the process by which new oceanic lithosphere forms as magma rises toward the surface and solidifies.

7 < BackNext >PreviewMain Section 2 Restless Continents Chapter 7 Sea-Floor Spreading, continued Mid-Ocean Ridges and Sea-Floor Spreading: Mid-ocean ridges are underwater mountain chains that run through Earth’s ocean basins. These mid-ocean ridges are the places where sea-floor spreading takes place.

8 < BackNext >PreviewMain Section 2 Restless Continents Chapter 7

9 < BackNext >PreviewMain Section 2 Restless Continents Chapter 7 Sea-Floor Spreading, continued Evidence for Sea-Floor Spreading: Magnetic Reversals Some of the most important evidence of sea-floor spreading comes from magnetic reversals recorded in the ocean floor. Throughout Earth’s history, the north and south magnetic poles have changed places many times.

10 < BackNext >PreviewMain Section 2 Restless Continents Chapter 7 Sea-Floor Spreading, continued Magnetic Reversals and Sea-Floor Spreading: Molten rock at the mid-ocean ridge contains tiny grains of magnetic minerals that act like compasses. These minerals align with the magnetic field of the Earth. When the molten rock cools, the record of these tiny compasses remains in the rock.

11 < BackNext >PreviewMain Section 2 Restless Continents Chapter 7 Sea-Floor Spreading, continued When the Earth’s magnetic field reverses, the magnetic mineral grains align in the opposite direction. The new rock records the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field. As the sea floor spreads away from a mid-ocean ridge, it carries with it a record of these magnetic reversals.

12 < BackNext >PreviewMain Magnetic reversals in oceanic crust are shown as bands of light blue and dark blue oceanic crust. Light blue bands indicate normal polarity, and dark blue bands indicate reverse polarity.


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