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Environmental Science
Nick Eyles

EESA06READING 2CHAPTER 2PLATE TECTONICS What are plate tectonicsTectonicsthe study of the origin and arrangement of the broad structural features of the earths surface including folds faults mountain belts continents and earthquake beltsPlate Tectonicsthe Earths surface is divided into a few large think plates that move slowly and change in size Plate boundariesplates move away from one another past one another or towards one another Eight large platessmaller platesmakes up the outer shell of the Earth the crust and upper part of the mantlePlate tectonic theory developed byContinental driftcontinents move freely over the Earths surface changing their positions relative to one another Sea floor spreading A hypothesis that the sea floor forms at the crest of midoceanic ridges then moves horizontally away from the ridge crest toward an oceanic trenchTwo sides of the ridge are moving in opposite directions How did plate tectonics theory evolve The Early Case for Continental Drift Alfred WegenerMeteorologist Continental driftExamined continents that have identical late Paleozoic rocks and fossils Pangeacontinents form a giant supercontinent Laurasia northern supercontinent North AmericaGondwanalandsouthern supercontinent Paleoclimatologystudy of ancient climate Examined ancient sedimentary rocks he discovered that paleoclimatic reconstructions suggested polar positions very different to those at presentSkepticism about Continental Drift Believes that the less dense continents drifted through oceanic
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