Scientific Method: The Continental Drift Hypothesis and Plate Tectonic Theory

1270 Words6 Pages
The initial ideas of the continental drift hypothesis led to the development of plate tectonic theory. In order for the theory to be accepted, the whole scientific concept had to undergo the extensive process of scientific method. This involves an initial Observation leading to a hypothesis, attempting to explain the occurring observation. In order for this to be determined, predictions are made to explain the specific hypotheses, which are then backed up by evidence, finally leading to having a generally accepted theory. In this essay, the process in which the individual parts of the scientific method were used in the context of the continental drift hypothesis and theory of plate tectonics will be outlined whilst showing how contemporaries react negatively to incomplete scientific method. The continental drift hypothesis is an example of how a hypothesis is made based on observation. It also shows how contemporaries can reject hypotheses until substantial evidence is found. The continental drift hypothesis was first introduced by Alfred Wegener in 1914. He suggested that at one stage in time, all of the continents were combined together as one, which he named ‘Pangaea’, and they eventually drifted apart to be in the positions they are at today (see figure 1.0 below). This came from the observation that the coastlines of the continents could be combined together to make one, like a jigsaw puzzle, specifically the ‘parallelism of the Atlantic coastlines’ (Skinner, Porter & Botkin pp. 66). Another observation that contributed to the hypothesis is the fact that similar flora and fauna can found on completely different continents, where there was no obvious way for them to travel in between. Wegener proposed that continental drift c... ... middle of paper ... ...ries are formed within the science community as well as how potentially long and tedious the formation of a theory can be. Works Cited Keary, P, Klepeis, AK & Vine, JF 2009, Global Techtonics, 3rd edition, Wiley-Blackwall, West Sussex, UK Skinner, BJ, Porter, SC & Botkin, DB 1999, The Blue Planet: An introduction to earth system science, 2nd edition, John Wiley & sons, Inc, New York, USA. Subduction of plates, 2002, the regents of the university of California, Viewed 12 April 2014, Watson, J 2012, Pangaea, Earthguide
at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Virginia, Viewed 11 April 2013, Weil, A 1997, the regents of the university of California, California, Viewed 11 April 2014,

More about Scientific Method: The Continental Drift Hypothesis and Plate Tectonic Theory

Open Document