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Contracting Earth Theory

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Presentation on theme: "Contracting Earth Theory"— 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 20th 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
Jigsaw Pattern Fit Using the Continental Shelves continents fit nicely Continents began breakup  200 million years ago

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

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

9 Evidence Cont. Fossils 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. Rocks Similar composition, age, and geologic structures on both sides of the Atlantic When continents are together have continuous pattern

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

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


14 Glacial Deposits Striations Glaciated Areas

15 Question for Wegner 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 oC. The rock retains the signature unless heated up past 580 oC. 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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