The event and history of plate tectonics
Plate tectonics emanates from two phrases; plate and tectonic. Plate in geological terms signifies a big slab of stressful rock when tectonics in Greek implies’ to build’. Therefore’ plate tectonic may be outlined as how the earth’s builds on shifting the plate. It could actually also be well-defined being a phase on the Earth’s lithosphere that is rigid moves distinctively from people encompassing it (Rodger, 1993).
Theory of plate tectonics states the lithosphere with the earth is crafted up of particular plates that fragmented into quite a few huge and minimal pieces of good rock. The plates move following to one another along with the reduced mantle to generate varied types of plate borders which have formed the Earth’s landscape greater than loads of decades. (Oreske & Legrand, 2001).
Alfred Wegener, a populous meteorologist, is known to be the founder of your plate tectonic principle. He noticed which the coastline of East South America and that within the west coast of Africa seemed to fit together in a jigsaw manner like to form a bigger plate. He then proposed an idea that all plates (continents) connected to a single massive plate called Pangaea which gradually began to drift apart more than 300 million several years ago (Rodger, 1993).
More scientific research on the plates’ coastline revealed that all the plate of earth’s continent somehow fit together. The theory, commonly known as continental drift principle, and Wegener became the founder from the idea on which scientist have based on their research.my link
However, Alfred Wegener plate tectonics theory could not ascertain how exactly the continents drifted away from just about every other. He proposed the earth’s rotations and the centrifugal forces towards the equator as one from the possible mechanism for continental drift. He said that Pangaea started at South Pole and earth’s rotation finally caused it to break up, sending continents toward the equator. His theories were discarded by the scientific community (Rodger, 1993).
Arthur Holmes, (1929), a British geologist, came up with the concept of thermal convection to explain the gradual drift within the Earth’s continents. He based on heating and cooling cycle for the Earth’s mantle that caused the continents to move. The Wegner’s idea being borrowed by scientist community in their quest for earth’s shape.
Today scientist have researched and analyzed past pieces of evidence and findings by geologist and scientist to expound and come up with a better ways of explaining plate tectonic concept and forces that were behind the drifting on the plates. It is believed and proofed using geological evidence that earth’s plate at one time was one big supercontinent called Pangaea. Due to three main driving forces namely, mantle convection, gravity, and the Earth’s rotation led to the drifting away belonging to the various plate from the main one. Some major plates (continents) formed which include North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, Indo-Australian, Pacific, and Antarctica.
Expounding on the three main driving forces for the movement with the Earth’s tectonic plates; Mantle convection is the most extensively studied technique of tectonic plate movement. It was widely discussed by Holmes in 1929, in his theory. The considerable convection current of molten material in the Earth’s upper mantle produces a lot of energies which is transferred to reduce mantle. The reduce mantle material finds their way to the crust causing the embedded rock to move away and out from the ridge thus transferring the plate. Evident of this is present in mid-ocean ridges.
Gravity evidenced by the mid-ocean ridges where the elevation is higher than the encompassing ocean floor. Convection currents within the Earth cause reduced mantle material to rise and spread away from the ridge, causing the older material to flow toward the ocean floor due to gravity and aid in the movement of the plates. Then lastly earth rotation is caused by centrifugal forces as the earth rotates (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001).
Plates produce different forms with the boundaries as they interact with their movement. Some belonging to the boundaries established include the Divergent boundaries form when a plate breaks along certain lines of weakness and shift away from just about every other forming a new crust, for instance, Mid-ocean ridges. The other boundary is called Convergent boundaries and created when two plates collide with one another causing the sinking of one plate below the other. Transform boundaries forms at the location where new crust created and without destroying it.
Today, through research, scientists have come up with shreds of evidence proving that earth plates were once super plate that split into the current Continent. One in the evidence is the jig-saw fitting of your East coast of South America, west coast of Africa appear to fit into one another. Also, Fossils remains of plants and animals collected by scientist around the world showed similarities that were cumbersome to explain unless continents had once joined. For instance, Cynognathus was a land reptile; its Fossils remain present both Africa and South America. Thus proving that the two continents joined as one, millions of years ago, (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001). Scientists have also found out from the evidence of earthquakes happened continually and occurred along certain lines, near the boundaries between tectonic plates.
As Wegener’s ideas form the basis why the landscape with the earth is the way it is, scientist community has advanced the methodology of studying the plate tectonic idea currently. They use the satellite to study evidences of plate tectonic where they position it a good number of kilometers away from the earth surface. From the satellite statistics, it is evidenced the plates move linearly and away from every other at the speed of 10mm to 100mm per year. Thus proving that plate tectonic concept that is earth was once one plate that gradually drifted apart in excess of millions of yrs back to form the current continents.