Plate Tectonics Essay

1317 words - 5 pages

1.0 Topic Definition
Plate Tectonics is a scientific theory which study how the Earth’s plates are driven and shaped by geological forces to keep them in constant movement. The theory explains the present-day tectonic behavior of the Earth, particularly the global distribution of mountain building, earthquake activity, and volcanism in a series of linear belt. (Pitman, W.C., 2007)
Plate Tectonics explains geomagnetic and geothermal phenomena, magma and orogenesis, and it clarify the global mid-ocean ridges and rift system, etc. The theory also analyzes geological issues such as the origin of oceanic crust. Plate Tectonics has a significant effect on all fields of geology because it helps explain many geological phenomenons.
Figure1. Earth Plate

2.0 History
Way back to 1915, scientist Alfred Wegener proposed his theory of “Continental Drift”, which clarified that the continents plowed through crust of ocean basin s. It helped explain why the outlines of many coast lines, such as South America and Africa looked like a puzzle when they fitted together. However, Wegner’s theory was controversial because it lacked of explanation of why continents moved.
In 1929, Arthur Holmes elaborated on one of Wegner’s hypotheses: the mangle undergoes thermal convection. In the early of 1960s, Holmes’ idea received many attractions. Harry Hess and R. Deitz developed a similar hypothesis, known as “Sea floor spreading”.
In 1965, J.T. Wilson proposed a new theory, which was “Plate Tectonics”. In 1967, Xavier Le Pichon published a complete model based on 6 major plates with their relative motions, which refined the theory of “Plate Tectonics”. He also explained the principle of the movement of the plates.

3.0 Science Organization
Plate Tectonics belongs to Geology. Plate Tectonics covers geophysics, tectonics, marine geology, geomorphology, volcanology and seismology. Geology is a subject which studies the Earth, the materials of it, the structure of those materials and the movement of them. Plate Tectonics studies the movement, evolution, composition, portfolio construction, distribution and mutual relations of the Earth’s lithosphere plates, which is similar to subject of geology.

4.0 Knowledge
In junior high school, I have learned the Continental Drift Theory, and my geography teacher told me there was a new theory based on the Continental Theory, i.e. Plate Tectonics. I accessed to the Internet to find the information about Plate Tectonics.

There are three distinct types of plate boundaries existing, which are supported by geological observation, geophysical data, and theoretical considerations. Their names and categories are based on if adjacent plates move apart from each other (divergent plate margins), toward one another (convergent plate margins), or slip past one another in a direction parallel to their common boundary (transform plate margins) (Pitman, W.C., 2007).

The new volcanic material welling up into the...

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