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The Pacific Ring of fire + Formation of the continents

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Introduction

LCKBRI001 The Ring Of fire Brian Lockyer The Pacific Ocean throughout history has been synonymous with stories of explorers who discovered large amounts of natural mineral deposits in the form of valuable metals such as silver, gold and copper. The perimeter of the Pacific Ocean largely consists of volcanoes and large areas of land that regularly undergo vicious seismic activity. There is a unique link between the occurrences of earthquakes and the distribution of the mineral wealth around the Pacific and it is this connection between the two that is the biggest clue to one of the most puzzling questions about the Earth: How did the continents form? The 'Ring of fire' outlines the perimeter of the Pacific Ocean, it extends 40 000km from New Zealand all the way north, through the Phillipines, up to Japan and across the Aleutian trench and then south along the west coasts of North and South America.. ...read more.

Middle

A big earthquake off the coast of Alaska prompted an investigation that gave rise to one of the most amazing geological discoveries ever witnessed. Geologist George Plathka, who was sent to investigate the Alaskan quake noted that the tides were out of phase with the barnacles on the rocks, which normally grow according to the sea level. He used this discovery to map out how the geography of Alaska had changed after the earthquake. Plathka discovered that there were areas along the Alaskan coast that had been uplifted as much as 12 metres, whilst other areas had sunk down about 2 metres. The most puzzling mystery amongst many, was the fact that whilst one area had been lowered another adjacent area had been uplifted, how and why did this happen? Normally when an earthquake of this magnitude occurs along the ring of fire, it happens along a fault line and is clearly visible, however ...read more.

Conclusion

This discovery was an extraordinary revelation as it was suddenly realized that the entire surface of the Earth was in constant motion, it was this discovery that prompted the birth of the theory of plate tectonics. It was the theory of plate tectonics that enabled scientists to explain the formation of continents and land masses along the ring of fire. Recent experiments have revealed that water is the key to the Ring of fire; the subduction of oceanic plates into the earth results in the creation of pressure which forces water out of the rocks, the water reduces the melting point of magma which causes the magma to rise to the surface thus creating volcanoes on the surface of continental plates, gasses emitted from volcanic action along the Ring of fire have been found to have high nitrogen concentrations. However, the majority of the magma never reaches the surface as it gets trapped in the crust thereby creating large volumes of rock which explains the formation of the continents. ...read more.

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