The development and historical past of plate tectonics
Plate tectonics emanates from two terms; plate and tectonic. Plate in geological terms would mean a big slab of tough rock even when tectonics in Greek implies’ to build’. Therefore’ plate tectonic can be defined as how the earth’s builds on transferring the plate. It might also be well-defined like a segment belonging to the Earth’s lithosphere that’s rigid moves distinctively from these encompassing it (Rodger, 1993).
Idea of plate tectonics states that the lithosphere on the earth is made up of personal plates that fragmented into plenty of vast and small-scale pieces of strong rock. The plates move future to each other on top of the reduced mantle to create numerous varieties of plate borders which have formed the Earth’s landscape greater than most years. (Oreske & Legrand, 2001).
Alfred Wegener, a populous meteorologist, is known to be the founder of the plate tectonic principle. He noticed the coastline of East South America and that in the west coast of Africa seemed to fit together in a jigsaw manner like to form a bigger plate. He then proposed an idea that all plates (continents) connected to a single enormous plate called Pangaea which gradually began to drift apart in excess of 300 million many years ago (Rodger, 1993).
More scientific research on the plates’ coastline revealed that all the plate of earth’s continent somehow fit together. The idea, commonly known as continental drift concept, and Wegener became the founder for the idea on which scientist have based on their research./dissertation/
However, Alfred Wegener plate tectonics theory could not ascertain how exactly the continents drifted away from every other. He proposed the earth’s rotations and the centrifugal forces towards the equator as one in the possible mechanism for continental drift. He said that Pangaea started at South Pole and earth’s rotation finally caused it to break up, sending continents toward the equator. His theories were discarded by the scientific community (Rodger, 1993).
Arthur Holmes, (1929), a British geologist, came up with the principle of thermal convection to explain the gradual drift of the Earth’s continents. He based on heating and cooling cycle in the Earth’s mantle that caused the continents to go. The Wegner’s idea being borrowed by scientist community in their quest for earth’s shape.
Today scientist have researched and analyzed past parts of evidence and findings by geologist and scientist to expound and come up with a better ways of explaining plate tectonic idea and forces that were behind the drifting of your plates. It is believed and proofed using geological evidence that earth’s plate at one time was one big supercontinent called Pangaea. Due to three main driving forces namely, mantle convection, gravity, and the Earth’s rotation led to the drifting away in the more than a few plate from the main one. A multitude of major plates (continents) formed which include North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, Indo-Australian, Pacific, and Antarctica.
Expounding on the three main driving forces for the movement of your Earth’s tectonic plates; Mantle convection is the most extensively studied technique of tectonic plate movement. It was widely discussed by Holmes in 1929, in his principle. The good sized convection current of molten material in the Earth’s upper mantle produces a lot of energies which is transferred to reduce mantle. The reduce mantle material finds their way to the crust causing the embedded rock to transfer away and out from the ridge thus going the plate. Evident of this is present in mid-ocean ridges.
Gravity evidenced by the mid-ocean ridges where the elevation is higher than the bordering ocean floor. Convection currents within the Earth cause cheaper mantle material to rise and spread away from the ridge, causing the older material to flow toward the ocean floor due to gravity and aid in the movement with the plates. Then lastly earth rotation is caused by centrifugal forces as the earth rotates (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001).
Plates formulate different styles in the boundaries as they interact with their movement. Some for the boundaries established include the Divergent boundaries form when a plate breaks along certain lines of weakness and move away from just about every other forming a new crust, for instance, Mid-ocean ridges. The other boundary is called Convergent boundaries and created when two plates collide with one another causing the sinking of one plate below the other. Transform boundaries forms at the location where new crust created and without destroying it.
Today, through research, scientists have come up with shreds of evidence proving that earth plates were once super plate that split into the current Continent. One in the evidence is the jig-saw fitting with the East coast of South America, west coast of Africa appear to fit into one another. Also, Fossils remains of plants and animals collected by scientist around the world showed similarities that were cumbersome to explain unless continents had once joined. For instance, Cynognathus was a land reptile; its Fossils remain present both Africa and South America. Thus proving that the two continents joined as one, millions of yrs ago, (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001). Scientists have also found out from the evidence of earthquakes happened continually and occurred along certain lines, near the boundaries between tectonic plates.
As Wegener’s ideas form the basis why the landscape within the earth is the way it is, scientist community has advanced the methodology of studying the plate tectonic principle currently. They use the satellite to study evidences of plate tectonic where they position it a great many kilometers away from the earth surface. From the satellite statistics, it is evidenced that the plates go linearly and away from each and every other at the speed of 10mm to 100mm per year. Thus proving that plate tectonic principle that may be earth was once one plate that gradually drifted apart about millions of decades back to form the current continents.