Essay about Understanding The Plate Tectonics Theory

Essay about Understanding The Plate Tectonics Theory

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Understanding the plate tectonics theory is very important, especially when investigating natural disasters like earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. It is also gives scientists the ability to understand how mountains were formed between two tectonic plates. There are three types of interactions between plate boundaries: convergent, divergent and transform. Looking back at the history of these three different interactions, earthquakes, like the one in Haiti, volcanic eruptions, like at Mount St. Helens, and the creation of mountain belts, like the Mid-Atlantic Oceanic ridge, gives information on future consequences of tectonic movement, and what can happen when the plates interact with each other.
Tectonic plate theory is a relatively new theory that has evolved over the last century. The history of the theory can date back all the way to the twentieth century. Before the 1960s a majority of geologists believed that ocean basins and continents had a fixed position and were of great antiquity (Tarbuck & Lutgens, 2015). Alfred Wegener was a German meteorologist and geophysicist who lived from 1880 to 1930. He was the first to propose the hypothesis of continental drift and hypothesized that there was once a single supercontinent that contained all of the Earth’s landmasses, which he called Pangaea. The evidence of Pangaea can be seen by fitting together different shorelines of the continents, and Wegener was able to find out that there were similar rock types and fossils in the areas where the continents used to connect. His theory in general was not accepted by the scientific community because there were inaccurate details to his theories and many did not accept that continents could move simply because there was no evidence of...


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... the crust (Tarbuck & Lutgens, 2015). It is important to understand how these ranges are created, especially because they can give scientists an idea on when new islands or continents may be formed. It also allows scientists to understand what may cause other plates to diverge from one another.
In conclusion, geologic events like earthquakes, volcanos and mountain belts all occur due to the movement of tectonic plates. Even though the theory is relatively new, there is ample evidence to help prove its validity. Scientists are still unable to successfully pinpoint when geologic events will happen, but they can now estimate when they may happen due to the recorded history of past events. Hopefully, in the near future, earth science will have a break-through that will allow scientists to accurately predict future events and save any lives that would be potentially lost.

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