Plate Tectonics

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The theory of plate tectonics, only recently introduced to the world, transforms the thought that the earth has been the same since its beginning. The theory alters the view of the average person almost in the way that Columbus showed the world was round. The theory of plate tectonics was developed from the theories of continental drift and sea-floor spreading and states that the earth’s surface is divided into several large plates, which are constantly in motion. In 1912, Alfred Wegener, a German scientist, was the first to notice this and develop the theory of plate tectonics. He noticed that the earth’s continents fit together almost like a jigsaw puzzle. This, combined with the fact that similar fossils and rock types are found on different continents separated by large bodies of water, helped him formulate his conjecture. He contended that the plates at one point formed one large continent called Pangea, which allowed like fossils and rock types to become closer together, which broke apart. Despite how well the continents fit together and the facts about the geology, the general public would not accept Wagener’s proposal. This is largely due to religious conflicts and the lack of evidence presented to them. The earth’s surface and the mantle make up the composition of the tectonic plates. This layer, called the lithosphere, rests on top of the asthenosphere, a layer of molten rock. The asthenosphere is constantly moving and flowing due to the extreme pressures...

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