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Contracting Earth Theory The molten Earth cools and contracts The crust wrinkles and crumples Mountains form What are some problems with this hypothesis?

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Presentation on theme: "Contracting Earth Theory The molten Earth cools and contracts The crust wrinkles and crumples Mountains form What are some problems with this hypothesis?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Contracting Earth Theory The molten Earth cools and contracts The crust wrinkles and crumples Mountains form What are some problems with this hypothesis? What observations do you know of that may contradict this idea?

2 The Expanding Earth 20 th century - radioactive decay Land masses are ripped apart Explains the continents What are some problems with this hypothesis? What observations do you know of that may contradict this idea?

3 Discussion Questions 1. How did Wegner’s Hypothesis challenge the “contracting Earth model”? 2. How does the distribution of ages of the ocean floor support “Continental Drift” and challenge the “expanding Earth model”?

4 Plate Tectonic Theory

5 Continental Drift Proposed by Alfred Wegner in 1915 Continents are a giant jigsaw puzzle Put together get Pangea (“all land”) a supercontinent

6 Evidence for Continental Drift 1. Jigsaw Pattern Fit –Using the Continental Shelves continents fit nicely –Continents began breakup  200 million years ago

7 Evidence Cont. 2. Fossils a)Mesosaurus Fresh water reptile Could swim, but not an ocean Found in South America and Africa

8 Evidence Cont. 2. Fossils b)Lystrosaurus Land dwelling reptile Could not swim Found in Africa, India, and Antarctica c)Cynognathus Land dwelling reptile Could not swim Found in Africa, South America.

9 Evidence Cont. 2. Fossils d)Glossopteris Fern Habitation area dictated by ability of plant to spread. Seeds to big to be transported by wind. Found in Africa, India, South America, Australia, and Antarctica.

10 Evidence Cont. 3. Rocks a)Similar composition, age, and geologic structures on both sides of the Atlantic b)When continents are together have continuous pattern

11 Evidence Cont. 4. Mountains a)See continuation of mountains on both sides of Atlantic Ocean b)North America and Europe together have a continuous mountain chain, rock is similar composition and age

12 Evidence Cont. 5. Paleoclimatic Data a)Evidence of Tropical Climates in non tropical areas. b)Evidence of Low-latitude deserts in non desert areas. c)Evidence of Glaciers in areas of tropical climates today.

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14 Glaciated Areas Glacial Deposits Striations

15 Question for Wegner 1. What is the mechanism of the movement? Wegner proposed that the tidal influence of the moon was strong enough to move continents. Continents plowed through ocean crust.

16 Refining a Hypothesis Paleomagnetism –Earth has a magnetic field creating a north and south pole – similar to a small magnet. –Magnetic Field has reversed over Earth’s history.

17 Magnetic Signature Iron-rich (ferromagnesium) minerals become weakly magnetized in the direction parallel to the existing magnetic field as they cool below 580 o C. The rock retains the signature unless heated up past 580 o C. If the rock moves or if the magnetic pole changes, the rock retains the original magnetic signature.

18 Polar Wandering Study of lava flows showed that magnetic signature of lava flows of different ages varied widely.

19 Magnetic signatures indicate that the magnetic poles have moved. Taken separately with no continental movement, the data indicate different pathways for the pole movement. If continental movement is incorporated, the polar wandering for the different continents are identical.

20 Magnetic Reversals and Ocean Floor Data Earth’s Magnetic field has reversed In addition to magnetic signature, polarity is recorded in rocks [either normal (present day) or reversed]. At mid-ocean ridges, new oceanic crust (basalt – mafic composition) is generated and records the magnetic signature and polarity.

21 Magnetic Reversals

22 Magnetism Patterns at Mid-Ocean Ridges

23 World-wide Seafloor Distribution


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