Attempt around the Progress and Background of Plate Tectonics

Plate tectonics arises from two words; plate and tectonic. Plate in geological conditions implies a large slab of hard rock though tectonics in Greek implies’ to build’. Therefore’ plate tectonic can be described as how the earth’s is constructed on transferring the plate. It may possibly even be well-defined being a rigid segment with the Earth’s lithosphere that moves independently from those surrounding it (Rodger, 1993). Theory of plate tectonics states that the lithosphere from the earth is made up of person plates which are fragmented into many substantial and small pieces of solid rock. The plates move following to one another on top of the decreased mantle to create diverse styles of plate borders which have formed the Earth’s landscape above a lot of yrs. (Oreske & Legrand, 2001). Alfred Wegener, a popular meteorologist, is known to be the founder from the plate tectonic concept; He noticed which the coastline of East South America and that of west coast of Africa seemed to fit together in a jigsaw manner like to form a bigger plate. He then proposed an idea that all plates (continents) were once connected to a single substantial plate called Pangaea which gradually began to drift apart around 300 million decades ago (Rodger, 1993). More scientific research on the plates’ coastline revealed that all the plate of earth’s continent somehow fit together. The concept was commonly known as continental drift theory, and Wegener became the founder of the theory on which scientist have based their research on. However, Alfred Wegener plate tectonics theory could not ascertain how exactly the continents drifted away from every other. He proposed the earth’s rotations and the centrifugal forces towards the equator as one in the possible mechanism for continental drift. He said that Pangaea started at South Pole and earth’s rotation finally caused it to break up, sending continents toward the equator. His theories were discarded by the scientific community (Rodger, 1993). Arthur Holmes, (1929), a British geologist, came up with the principle of thermal convection to explain the gradual drift on the Earth’s continents. He based on heating and cooling cycle on the Earth’s mantle that caused the continents to shift. The idea has been borrowed by scientist community in their quest for earth’s shape. Today scientist have researched and analyzed past evidences and findings by geologist and scientist to expound and come up with a better ways of explaining plate tectonic idea and forces that were behind the drifting of your plates. It is believed and proofed using geological evidence that earth’s plate at one time was one super plate called Pangaea. Due to three main driving forces namely, mantle convection, gravity, and the Earth’s rotation led to the drifting away of quite a few plate from the main one. Several major plates (continents) were formed which include North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, Indo-Australian, Pacific, and Antarctica. Expounding to the three main driving forces for the movement with the Earth’s tectonic plates; Mantle convection is the most extensively studied technique of tectonic plate movement. It was widely discussed by Holmes in 1929, in his theory. The big convection current of molten material in the Earth’s upper mantle produces a lot of energies which is transferred to decreased mantle. The lessen mantle material finds their way to the crust causing the embedded rock to shift out and away from the ridge thus custom term paper writing transferring the plate. Evidence of this is shown at mid-ocean ridges. Gravity is evidenced by the mid-ocean ridges where the elevation is higher than the bordering ocean floor. Convection currents within the Earth cause decrease mantle material to rise and spread away from the ridge, causing the older material to flow toward the ocean floor due to gravity and aid in the movement in the plates. Then lastly earth rotation is caused by centrifugal forces as earth rotates (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001). Plates form different forms of boundary as they interact with their movement. Some from the boundaries formed include Divergent boundaries form when a plate breaks along certain lines of weakness and go away from just about every other forming a new crust, for instance, Mid-ocean ridges. The other boundary is called Convergent boundaries and is created when two plates collide with one another causing the sinking of one plate below the other. Transform boundaries forms at location where new crust created and without destroying it. Today, through research, scientists have come up with numerous evidences proving that earth plates were once super plate which split into the current Continents. Some of the evidences include: the jig-saw fitting with the East coast of South America and west coast of Africa appear to fit into one another; Fossils remains of plants and animals collected by scientist around the world showed similarities that were tough to explain unless continents had once been joined. For instance, Cynognathus was a land reptile. Its Fossils remains have been found in both Africa and South America, thus proving which the two continents were once joined (Oreskes $ Legrand, 2001). Scientist have also found out from the evidence of earthquakes happened continually and occurred along certain lines, near the boundaries between tectonic plates. As Wegener’s ideas forms the basis why the landscape with the earth is the way it is, scientist community have currently advanced methodology of studying the plate tectonic concept. They use satellite to study evidences of plate tectonic where they position it lots of kilometers away from the earth surface. From the satellite statistics, it is evidenced the plates shift linearly and away from every other at the speed of 10mm to 100mm per year, thus, proving the plate tectonic concept that is earth was once plate which gradually drifted apart in excess of millions of a long time back to form the current continents.


Oreskes, N., & LeGrand, H. E. (2001). Plate tectonics: An insider’s historical past with the modern concept on the Earth. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press. Rogers, J. J. W. (1993). A record on the earth. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.