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Department
Environmental Science
Course Code
EESA06H3
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Nick Eyles

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Chapter 2
Plate Tectonics
the plate tectonics theory suggests that the surface of the earth is divided into several large plates that
change in position and size
continental drift moving continents
moving sea floor sea floor spreading
tectonics is the study of the origin and arrangement of the broad structural features of the earth’s
surface
intense geologic activity occurs at plate boundaries where plates move away from one another, past
one another, or toward one another.
The concept of plate tectonics was born in the late 1960s by combining two pre-existing ideas
continental drift ad sea floor spreading.
oContinental drift – the idea that continents move freely over the earth’s surface, changing
their positions relative to one another.
oSea floor spreading – a hypothesis that the sea floor forms at the crest of mid-oceanic ridges,
then moves horizontally away from the ridge crest toward an oceanic trench
Pangea initially separated into two parts:
oLaurasia
The northern supercontinent, containing what is now North America and Eurasia
(excluding India)
oGondwanaland
The southern supercontinent, composed of all the present-day southern-hemisphere
continents and India (which has drifted north)
These continents all have deposits of Late Palaeozoic age
The study of ancient climates is called paleoclimatology
Polar wandering – Wegener used this term to describe the fact that ancient poles were in different
positions than present poles
Study of the sea floor
oceans cover more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface
sample of rocks and sediments can be taken from the sea floor in many ways:
orocks can be broken from the sea floor by a rock dredge, which is an open steel container
dragged over the ocean bottom at the end of a cable
osediments can be sampled with a corer, which is a weighted steel pipe dropped vertically into
the mud and sand of the ocean floor
oboth rocks and sediments can be sampled by means of sea floor drilling.
Offshore oil platforms drill holes in the relatively shallow sea floor near shore
A ship with a drilling derrick on its deck can drill a hole in the deep sea floor far from
land
The drill cuts long, rod-like rock cores from the ocean floor
A basic tool for indirectly studying the sea floor is the echo sounder
oDraws profiles of submarine topography
oA sound sent downward from a ship bounces off the sea floor and returns to ship
oThe water depth is determined from the time it takes the sound to make a round trip
A seismic profiler works on the same principle as the echo sounder but uses a louder noise at lower
frequency
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Description
Chapter 2 Plate Tectonics the plate tectonics theory suggests that the surface of the earth is divided into several large plates that change in position and size continental drift moving continents moving sea floor sea floor spreading tectonics is the study of the origin and arrangement of the broad structural features of the earths surface intense geologic activity occurs at plate boundaries where plates move away from one another, past one another, or toward one another. The concept of plate tectonics was born in the late 1960s by combining two pre-existing ideas continental drift ad sea floor spreading. o Continental drift the idea that continents move freely over the earths surface, changing their positions relative to one another. o Sea floor spreading a hypothesis that the sea floor forms at the crest of mid-oceanic ridges, then moves horizontally away from the ridge crest toward an oceanic trench Pangea initially separated into two parts: o Laurasia The northern supercontinent, containing what is now North America and Eurasia (excluding India) o Gondwanaland The southern supercontinent, composed of all the present-day southern-hemisphere continents and India (which has drifted north) These continents all have deposits of Late Palaeozoic age The study of ancient climates is called paleoclimatology Polar wandering Wegener used this term to describe the fact that ancient poles were in different positions than present poles Study of the sea floor oceans cover more than 70 percent of the earths surface sample of rocks and sediments can be taken from the sea floor in many ways: o rocks can be broken from the sea floor by a rock dredge, which is an open steel container dragged over the ocean bottom at the end of a cable o sediments can be sampled with a corer, which is a weighted steel pipe dropped vertically into the mud and sand of the ocean floor o both rocks and sediments can be sampled by means of sea floor drilling. Offshore oil platforms drill holes in the relatively shallow sea floor near shore A ship with a drilling derrick on its deck can drill a hole in the deep sea floor far from land The drill cuts long, rod-like rock cores from the ocean floor A basic tool for indirectly studying the sea floor is the echo sounder o Draws profiles of submarine topography o A sound sent downward from a ship bounces off the sea floor and returns to ship o The water depth is determined from the time it takes the sound to make a round trip A seismic profiler works on the same principle as the echo sounder but uses a louder noise at lower frequency www.notesolution.com
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