Facts About Plate Tectonics
  • The theory that states that the Earth's "outer shell" is split into huge slabs of rock we call "plates," glide over the Earth's mantle is known as the Plate Tectonics
  • Alfred Wegener proposed this theory back in 1915 when it was still named the continental drift
  • Before plate tectonics, the continental drift theory was used to explain the geologic features of a region, which eventually became the unifying theory of geology.
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  • Like a pot boiling on a stove, the driving force behind plate tectonics is the convection in the mantle where the hot material near the Earth's core rises while the colder materials sink.
  • The geologists see it differently though. They believe it's more of a "repeated collision" and call it plate boundaries. The three types of plate boundaries are: Convergent, Divergent, Transform.
  • These tectonic plates move at a rate of 1-2 inches per year.

There are seven major plates that currently exist:

  1. North American
  2. Pacific
  3. Eurasian
  4. African
  5. Indo-Australian
  6. South American
  7. Antarctic

Although, evidence has been found that the Indo-Australian plate has cracked therefore making the total existing plates to 8.

The earliest evidence of the tectonic plates was found in Greenland which was estimated to be abbout 3.8 billion years old. Covnersely, researchers have found that the tectonic plates have been active for as long as 4 billion years ago.

There have been two supercontinents: The Rodinia which happened a billion years ago while the most recent one The Pangea formed about 300 million years ago.

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