Presentation on theme: "Plate Movements The Basics. Continental Drift Theory Alfred Wegener (1910s) stated that some 250m yrs ago a single giant continent called “Pangaea”"— Presentation transcript:
Continental Drift Theory Alfred Wegener (1910s) stated that some 250m yrs ago a single giant continent called “Pangaea” had slowly broken up and drifted apart to give rise to the present continents of the world. Evidences? Main weakness?
The Shapes Match The continents look as if they were pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle that could fit together to make one giant super-continent. The bulge of Africa fits the shape of the coast of North America while Brazil fits along the coast of Africa beneath the bulge.
The Plants and Animals Match Wegener noted that plant fossils of late Paleozoic age found on several different continents were quite similar. This suggests that they evolved together on a single large land mass. He was intrigued by the occurrences of plant and animal fossils found on the matching coastlines of South America and Africa, which are now widely separated by the Atlantic Ocean. He reasoned that it was physically impossible for most of these organisms to have traveled or have been transported across the vast ocean. To him, the presence of identical fossil species along the coastal parts of Africa and South America was the most compelling evidence that the two continents were once joined.
The Rocks Match Broad belts of rocks in Africa and South America are the same type. These broad belts then match when the end of the continents are joined.
The Ice Matches Wegener was aware that a continental ice sheet covered parts of South America, southern Africa, India, and southern Australia about 300 million years ago. Glacial striations on rocks show that glaciers moved from Africa toward the Atlantic Ocean and from the Atlantic Ocean onto South America. Such glaciation is most likely if the Atlantic Ocean were missing and the continents joined.
Contradictions If the continents were cold enough so that ice covered the southern continents, why is no evidence found for ice in the northern continents? Wegener could not explain WHY?????
Plate tectonic Theory 1950s, describes the Earth as a restless planet theory suggests Earth’s crust is made up of 7 major crustal plates Continental plates:Oceanic plates: –N. American plate- Pacific plate –S. American plate- Nazca plate (minor) –African plate –Eurasian plate –Indo-Australian plate –Antarctic plate
Why do plates move? Because of convection currents moving from the hot inner parts of the Earth –drag the plates above them
Why do plates move?(cont) - plates move due to the convection current in the mantle - parts of the mantle are molten rock - known as magma - Heated magma rises and spreads under the plates dragging them along - Cooled magma sinks pulling the plates together - collide headlog into one another
The restless earth Video on the restless earth Video on the restless earth Video on the restless earth
Group Work Case study 1: –Ice Land as part of mid-atlantic ridge Case Study 2: –Marianas Trench