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continental drift

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Continental Drifting

In this course work I will discuss the arguments for and against continental drifting and use them to explain why a) continental drifting is a fact

                                              b) Continental drifting is the cause of earthquakes,        mountains and volcanoes.

I will do this by applying the works of scientists’ theories of continental drifting, the study of plate tectonics and diagrams of the Earth’s structure.

Alfred Wegener, the German scientist and meteorologist began his theory of continental drifting in 1915. He went against other professional scientists and geologists and predicted that the continents were slowly ‘drifting’ around the Earth. It offered an explanation of the existence of similar fossils and rocks on continents that are far apart from each other. He came to the conclusion that the Earth was once one ‘super continent,’ "Pangaea" (meaning "All-Lands" or "All-Earth"), that slowly broke apart over millions of years.

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Plate Tectonics

The definition of plate tectonics is the movement of plates and the activity inside the earth.

The Earth is made up of four layers; inner core, outer core, mantle and crust

The crust and upper mantle are broken into large pieces called tectonic plates this sometimes forms continents.

Tectonic plates are huge areas of the Earth, which float on the upper mantle, that push and pull causing them to move apart. These plates are moving at a few cm per year, up to thousands of kilometres over millions of years.

Sometimes Earth can get pushed up or down when plates collide contributing to the rock cycle.

The force of two tectonic plates meeting makes the Earth’s crust unstable as they push against each other; ride under or over one another. This crashing can cause mountain ranges, earthquakes or volcanoes.

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Fossils of very similar plants and animals have been found on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. One explanation of this was that the continents were linked by ‘land bridges’ which had sunk or been covered by water as the Earth cooledThere were matching layers of rocks and earthwormsCoastlines of Africa and South America join together like a jigsawFossils are found deep underground or high up in mountains.Radio active decay in the mantle produces enough heat for convection currents.

In conclusion I believe continental drifting is true as there is too much evidence to support

If continental drifting wasn’t true what explanation could be given as to why continents fit together like a jigsaw or that fossils of the same animals are found on different sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

I agree with Alfred Wegener’s theory of Pangaea splitting apart and moving away, however I believe that it is due to the convection currents in the Earth’s upper mantle.

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