Ch 9.1 Continental Drift

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1 Ch 9 Plate Tectonics 9.1 Continental Drift 9.2 Plate Tectonics 9.3 Actions of Plate Tectonics 9.4Testing Plate Tectonics 9.5 Mechanisms of Plate Motion

2 Ch 9.1 Continental Drift l The proposed radical hypothesis of Continental Drift proposed the idea that during the Paleozoic all continents were joined as Pangaea l A German scientist Alfred Wegener first proposed this idea (1915) using the obvious evidence of the shorelines of South America and Africa aligning.

3 Ch 9.1 Continental Drift l Other evidence that supports the Continental Drift theory l 1) The Continental puzzle- Matching present day shorelines l 2) Matching fossils- Matching Fossils were found on different land masses l Wegener reasoned the organisms couldn t cross the vast oceans

4 Ch 9.1 Continental Drift l 3) Rock Types and Structure- Mountain belts that end at one coastline, only reappear on a landmass across the ocean l 4) Ancient Climate- Glacier deposits align across continents as they would have been during the times of Pangaea

5 Ch 9.1 Continental Drift l Rejection of Wegener s hypothesis l One objection was that Wegener could not describe the mechanism that was capable of moving the continents across the globe. l Wegener proposed that the moon s gravity caused the plates to move and that the continents plowed through the oceanic plates. l This idea was rejected until 1968, when technology enabled scientists to map the ocean floor. l How do you think that the plates are moving?

6 Ch 9.2 Plate Tectonics l The uppermost layer of the Earth mantle, Lithosphere, is rigid and floats on a weaker and softer layer called the Asthenosphere l The Lithosphere is broken up into segments called Plates

7 Ch 9.3 Plate Tectonics l Divergent Boundary- Occur when two plates are moving apart l Example- Mid- Atlantic Ridge

8 Ch 9.3 Plate Tectonics l Convergent Boundaries- form where two plates move together. There are three types: l 1) Oceanic- Continental One oceanic and one Continental plates collide. The denser oceanic plate sinks into the asthenosphere and eventually melts. (volcanic arc) l 2) Oceanic- Oceanic Two oceanic slabs converge, where one descends beneath the other. (Volcanic island arc) l 3) Continental- Continental Collision between two continents. The continental crust is too buoyant and will not sink. Creating large mountains. (The Himalayas).

9 Ch 9.3 Plate Tectonics

10 Ch 9.3 Plate Tectonics l Transform Fault Boundaries- are margins where two plates grind past each other without the production or destruction of lithosphere

11 9.3 Action at Plate Boundaries l Density is the reason why some plates are driven down into the Earth and others are not. l Oceanic crust & oceanic lithosphere are more dense or have a higher mass per volume ratio than continental crust. l When the two crusts meet, the oceanic crust is heavier, and therefore submerges beneath the continental crust.

12 9.3 Action at Plate Boundaries l Well developed divergent plate boundaries, where the seafloor is elevated, are Oceanic Ridges l The deep faulted structures are called Rift valleys l Seafloor spreading is the process by which plate tectonics produces new oceanic lithosphere

13 9.3 Action at Plate Boundaries l Destructive plate margins where oceanic crust is being pushed down into the mantle are called subduction zones which create trenches l Continental volcanic arcs are created when the oceanic crust melts and comes back up creating mountains l When this happens in the ocean it is a volcanic island arc

14 9.4 Testing Plate Tectonics l The evidence that supports Plate Tectonics: l 1) Seafloor spreading l 2) Paleomagnetism l 3) Ocean Drilling l 4) Hot Spots

15 9.4 Testing Plate Tectonics l The evidence that supports Plate Tectonics: l 1) Seafloor spreading l Harry Hess discovered that there were large mountains under all of the oceans. l This is the process by which divergent plate boundaries produce new oceanic crust. l Oceanic crust is destroyed at convergent boundaries.

16 9.4 Testing Plate Tectonics l The evidence that supports Plate Tectonics: l 2) Paleomagnetism l Study of the changes in Earth s magnetic field. l The discovery of strips of rocks with alternating polarity provide strong evidence of Seafloor Spreading. l Over Earth s history the magnetic poles have shifted. l l When magnetic magma cools, it retains the magnetism of Earth at that time forever. The ocean floor is evidence to these changes in polarity.

17 9.4 Testing Plate Tectonics l The evidence that supports Plate Tectonics: l 3) Ocean Drilling l By drilling, we have discovered that the oldest oceanic rocks are at the continental margins. The youngest oceanic rocks are at the ridge crest (Mid Atlantic Ridge).

18 9.4 Testing Plate Tectonics l The evidence that supports Plate Tectonics: l 4) Hot Spots l A hot spot is stationary, but creates many different islands in a successive chain (eg. Hawaii). l As the plates move, new islands are formed. l This provides evidence that the plates are moving.

19 9.5 Mechanics of Plate Motion l Scientists generally agree that convection occurring in the mantle is the basic driving force for plate motion l Warm rises and cold, more dense material sinks l The motion of matter resulting from convection is called Convection Flow

20 9.5 Mechanics of Plate Motion l Slab- pull occurs because old oceanic crust, which is relatively cool and dense, sinks and pulls the trailing lithosphere l Ridge- push causes oceanic lithosphere to slide down the sides of the oceanic ridge

21 9.5 Mechanics of Plate Motion l The uneven distribution of heat within Earth causes the thermal convection in the mantle that ultimately drives plate motion!!!!

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