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Plate Tectonics.doc

by OneClass311998 , Spring 2012
5 Pages

Course Code
GEO 102
Maria Schmeckle

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Plate Tectonics: Theory from 1960’s of geology that explains everything
1) Past theories
a) Geologic time
i) Slow processes can do a lot given enough time
ii) Motion of earth plate tectonics moves very slowly
(I) Rate of fingernail growth
(II) 50 cm a year
iii) Time periods
(I) First 4 billion years
(a) Don’t know too much about
(b) Too long ago
(II) Recent 600 million years
(a) Know A LOT
b) The Prune Effect
i) 1800’s
ii) Failed attempt number 1
iii) The molten earth cools and contracts
(I) The crust wrinkles and crumples
(II) Mountains form
(a) What about rift valleys?
(b) What about the shape and position of the continents?
iv) Does not explain rift valleys
v) Doesn’t explain the continents coming together
c) The Expanding Earth
i) 1900’s
ii) Failed attempt number 2
iii) Land masses are ripped
(I) Explains the continents
(a) What about the mountain range?
iv) Like a balloon with spray paint blowing up
(I) Spray paint breaks apart
v) The earth has radioactive decay
(I) Why the earth is heated
d) Continental Drift
i) 1915
ii) 3rd theory—success!
iii) Alfred Wegener
(I) Theory of continental drift
(II) Not of plate tectonics
(III) Processor to plate tectonics
iv) Pangaea- super continent
(I) 200 million years ago
(II) Fit together like pieces of a puzzle
(a) Fragmented and floated around
(III) Thought there was nothing to float on for land masses
v) Lines of evidence
(I) Matching coastlines
(II) Matching geology
(III) Glacial deposits
(IV) Fossil evidence
(V) Apparent polar wandering
2) Continental drift evidence- Found by Alfred
a) Matching coastlines
i) When forming coastlines together, 97% matches up
ii) It’s okay to have a little bit of space because of ocean crust between
b) Matching geology
c) Glacial deposits
i) Striations
(I) groves that are scratched on rocks as ice moves over rock
ii) Formed when glacier ice moves
(I) They can be 2-3 miles thick
(II) Cover whole continent
iii) Why this is good?
(I) Tells us what direction the ice was moving
(II) Only forms on land
(a) NOT in the ocean
(b) Formed from accumulation of snow
iv) Glacial deposits in south America, Africa, India, and Australia
(I) Looks like it came out of ocean
(II) Couldn’t have
(III) Must have came from Antarctica when Pangaea was
d) Fossil evidence
i) Glossopteris tree
(I) Distribution of tree in different places
(II) Developed in two places at the same time
(III) Species forming:
(a) Evolves in one place in the world from a driving force
(i) Being separated from original species
(ii) Drastic change in environment
(iii) Radiation from sun mutation
(b) Only ONE place
(i) Then moves outwards to other places
(c) Extinction= never comes back
ii) Mesosaurus
(I) Links South America to Africa during late Paleozoic and early
Mesozoic eras
(a) When continent was in Pangaea, the Mesosaurus walked
over to other continent
e) Apparent polar wandering

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Plate Tectonics Theory from 1960s of geology that explains everything1Past theoriesaGeologic timeiSlow processes can do a lot given enough timeiiMotion of earth plate tectonics moves very slowlyIRate of fingernail growthII50 cm a yeariiiTime periodsIFirst 4 billion yearsaDont know too much aboutbToo long agoIIRecent 600 million yearsaKnow A LOTbThe Prune Effecti1800siiFailed attempt number 1iiiThe molten earth cools and contractsIThe crust wrinkles and crumplesIIMountains formaWhat about rift valleysbWhat about the shape and position of the continentsivDoes not explain rift valleysvDoesnt explain the continents coming togethercThe Expanding Earthi1900siiFailed attempt number 2iiiLand masses are rippedIExplains the continentsaWhat about the mountain rangeivLike a balloon with spray paint blowing up ISpray paint breaks apartvThe earth has radioactive decayIWhy the earth is heateddContinental Drifti1915rdii3 theorysuccessiiiAlfred WegenerITheory of continental driftIINot of plate tectonicsIIIProcessor to plate tectonicsivPangaea super continentI200 million years agoIIFit together like pieces of a puzzleaFragmented and floated aroundIIIThought there was nothing to float on for land masses
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