Continental Drift And Plate Tectonics

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Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics
Throughout history the continental drift hypothesis was questioned and criticised until a valid theory was agreed upon by the consensus, now known as the Plate Tectonic Theory. The scientific method is a process involving data collection and research on a set of principles to test ideas or hypotheses such as Continental Drift. It is through these set principles where any form of subjectivity and bias is avoided which could potentially distort the results during evaluation. It is also ‘self-correcting’ and flexible as current theories can be altered according to new research and evidence such as the Plate Tectonic Theory. It is what makes science reliable as this approach provides a scientific explanation, hence distinguishing it from the ordinary subjective approaches (Understanding Science n. d.). The scientific method can transform a belief or superstition to a scientific opinion. For example, the Continental Drift hypothesis, with a few alterations, is now in the name of Plate Tectonics.
The Continental Drift Hypothesis began to arise in the early 19th Century after geologists noticed similarities in the earth rock formation. Continents were also a geographical match; fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Austrian geologist Eduard Suess proposed a theory explaining the similarities in the fossils and animals around the world through Gondwanaland, a supercontinent believed to have covered much or all of the earth. As the Earth cooled, it contracted causing a decrease in the surface area and thus developing mountains through the ‘wrinkles’, conveying the image of the Earth as a ‘drying apple’ (Oreskes 1999, pp. 4). Suess also believed that the earth was made up of a large continuous crust, b...

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...e hypothesis holding much promise at the time.
With our increased knowledge of the ocean floor configuration and the concepts of seafloor spreading, it has supplied us with evidence for continental drift. The plate tectonics theory came to a gradual acceptance through the evolution of scientific thought and acceptance whereby the idea of mobile continents increased understanding of earthquakes and thus technology to minimise the effects.
It was clear that as Wegener had put forward his theories, most of the geologists had deferred his statements calling them vulnerable as his commitment and dedication had somehow prevented him from accepting the impossibility of his thoughts (Lake 1923). However it was his persistence that had encouraged the birth of Plate Tectonics, embracing both continental drift and seafloor spreading.

Word Count (excluding reference): 1452
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