The Theory Of Plate Tectonics Essay

The Theory Of Plate Tectonics Essay

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For one to fully understand the processes of the Earth and how it functions in its entirety, we must first observe, study and work to expand our on-going comprehension of the geological processes that occur on our planet.
The Theory of Plate Tectonics is a great place to begin as it is very accomplished in explaining our planet’s past and how it came to look like it does today, and it also happens to be one of the most important geological theories ever developed. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that a man named Alfred Wegener hypothesized a theory to explain some of the strange phenomena that occurred on Earth’s surface (“Continental Drift”, 2011). This theory sparked a lot of skepticism and later the discovery plate boundary movements and their correlation to seismic activity and topographic changes on our planet. The placement of continents on our latitude and longitudinal grid, along with the topography of the land, plays a significant role in things such as the modern climates we experience, where people have chosen to settle, and evolutionary differences amongst creatures and man in different regions of the world.
At the beginning of the 20th century, in the year 1912, Alfred Wegener first proposed his, now nearly unanimously accepted, “Continental Drift Hypothesis” which he used to explain some of the unexplained mysteries that paleontologists and geophysicists were still trying to work out, for example - why were their identical fossils and rocks on different continents? (Oreskes, 2013). He drafted this theory based upon his observation that when you took all the modern continents, as we know them today in current time, and put them together like a puzzle they fit almost perfectly (“Continental Dri...


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...he mantle, melts and becomes molten (Hay, 42). Subduction “is also part of the rock cycle, because the plate which dives under the other one becomes part of the mantle and emerges much later from volcanoes and in seafloor spreading” (“Continental Drift”, 2011). Areas on the globe, particularly the western portion of the ring of fire, that have convergent ocean-ocean plate boundaries often experience tsunamis from the earthquakes that occur off shore. These types of plate boundaries also create volcanic mountain chains under the ocean which has been the main contributor to the creation of islands – example, the Aleutian Islands (Hay, 41). Many people get this type of plate boundary confused with the creation of the Hawaiian Islands, which is in fact, not caused by convergent plates but weak hot spots in the lithosphere and crust. The only variance between oceanic-


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