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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Notes

10 Pages

Environmental Science
Course Code
Nick Eyles

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Planet Earth Chapter 2Plate TectonicsWhat is Plate TectonicsTectonics is the study of the originarrangement of the broad structural features of the Earths surface including not only foldsfaults but also mountainbelts continentsearthquake beltsPlate tectonics theory better explains Earths features as opposed to tectonic modelsPlate tectonicsIdea that the Earths surface is divided into a few large thick plates that move slowlychange in sizeThis theory can explain so many diverse features of the Earthearthquake the origin of mountain belts the origin of seafloor topography the distributioncomposition of volcanoes etc All these things can be a result of plate interactions at plate boundariesIntense geological activity occurs at plate boundaries where plates move away from one another past one another or toward one another8 large platesfew dozen smaller platesouter shell of Earth crustDevelopment of TheoryConcept developed in 1960Combination of 2 preexisting ideas continental driftseafloor spreadingContinental drift Idea that continents move freely over the Earths surface changing their positions relative to one another Seafloor spreading is a hypothesis that the sea floor forms at the crest of midoceanic ridges then moves horizontally away from the ridge crest toward oceanic trenchHow did the Plate Tectonics Theory EvolveThe Early Case for Continental DriftIdea that continents were once joined together and have splitmoved apart from one another has been around for more than 130 years1900sAlfred Wegener German meteorologist made a strong case for continental driftSuggested that most of the continents had almost identical late Paleozoic rocks and fossilsBased on this Wegener reassembled the scattered continents into a supercontinent called Pangaea Pangaea initially split into two partsLaurasia Northern supercontinentcontaining North AmericanEurasiaGondwanaland Southern supercontinentcontaining southern hemisphere continentsIndiaPaleozoic glacial deposits on all the continents that were part of Gondwanaland Southern Hemisphere also helps prove the past existence of PangaeaPaleoclimatology The study of ancient climatesWegener also reconstructed old climate zonesLandscape features indicate that Earth did not have the same distribution of ancient climates
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