Essay Sample on Wegener's Theory of Continental Drift

Published: 2019-10-10
Essay Sample on Wegener's Theory of Continental Drift
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Geography
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 455 words
4 min read

Wegener had a few observations with which he supported his theory of continental drift. The first piece of evidence he provided was that the eastern coast of the American continent and the western coast of the Europe continent and Africa looked like a piece of a puzzle; like they were once a single block. He further pointed to the matching rock units on the continents sandwiching the Atlantic Ocean as well as the similarity of fossils across Africa, Australia, South America, India, and Antarctica.

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He further pointed to the distribution of certain living organism in certain continents, giving the example of pouched mammals. Finally, he pointed to the evidence of glacial activity in areas which are now incapable of having such, such as Africa and India.

Wegener biggest challenge in explaining his theory was explaining how the continents moved. Some of his proposed movement mechanisms were virtually impossible and hence rejected.

Plate boundaries

The type of plate boundary found in areas with volcanic eruptions is the convergent boundary. It is likely there is a set of other island arcs nearby. Oceanic oceanic convergence features deep-ocean trenches, earthquakes, and melting of the sub ducting plate.

Seismic waves

Geologists use seismic waves to determine the structure of the earth such as the depth of layers molten rock. Seismic waves are of different kinds and they all behave differently when they meet varying material in the earths interior. Geologists analyze the strength of the different types of seismic waves and the directions they came from to gather more information about the earths interior. The different speeds of the P and S waves are also manipulated in studying earths interior structure.

Earthquake Measurement

An earthquake can be measured by determining its magnitude or its intensity. A Richter scale is used to determine the magnitude while a Mercalli scale measures the intensity.

The Richter scale is the most well-known scale. Mercalli scale was developed because the Richter scale did not describe the damage to an area by an earthquake adequately.

The Mercalli scale is vital for determining historical accounts of earthquakes. It cant, however, be used in a remote area with no population.

The surprising things geologists found when studying the eruption of Mt. St. Helens.

Some of the surprising discoveries thanks to the eruptions at Mt. St. Helens include:

Finely laminated volcanic material beds can be made by violent pyroclastic flows. The general idea before this was that finely laminated deposits are only possible in quite conditions

Canyons can be formed by rivers

Solid rock erosion is very much a possibility and can happen very fast

The fossil forests of Yellowstone are not naturally grown there but transported and buried there

Floating log mats can also form coal

The earth can quickly heal after being completely decimated.

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