Term Paper: Plate Tectonics Is Responsible

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[. . .] From Pratt, 2000). In this context, it would mean that the ocean floor underwent subsidence and elevation. The ridges, height of the Romanche fracture zone in the equatorial Atlantic for instance is considered to be the model of spreading. But there is no evidence that its formation is derived from plate tectonics. The height of these ridges range from 1-4 km above the sea floor. The formation of these ridges, it has been predicted were faster then the plate tectonics only 5 millions years ago [Pratt, 2000].

Continental Drift

However, if the above was the case then how can scientist justify the hypothesis for continental drift. According to Ann G. Metzger and Jill Stevens Johnston of Center for Earthquake Research and Information, University of Memphis [1998], plate tectonics is the basis of reasoning for the theory of continental drift. This theory believes that around 175 million years ago the surface of the earth was one large mass of land. Despite the differential in opinions among scientists regarding the formation of the landmass of today, all have conjugate in their opinion on the fact that rock formation, geological distribution of these rocks as well as the different evidence of land support like earthquake, faulting and folding and ocean floor spreading cannot be reasoned if plate tectonic is ignored. Some rock composition may have changed but the overall layers and connection of rock formation from continent to continent are similar. One explanation for difference in composition is that the plates have collided into each other several times before it came to its present state.

The earth and its contraction of the different layers of crust cannot be treated as pieces of puzzles and according to the "best fit" theory. Since it is hypothesize that the landmass had collided several times, it is not necessary that each and every puzzle corner should match the other. It is not necessary that the east coast of Brazil in South America should match those of southwestern coast of Africa, nor does it mean that the North eastern coast of American match with Western Europe. The very fact that the plates are different in its boundaries, its fossils and rock geological composition show that these boundaries have been subjected to extreme force, collision and deterioration. Using the puzzle method would not give the desired answer. Instead, the plate tectonic theory provides the best answer for the different kind of life form common to most of the plates on earth. Fossil rocks for instance is the evidence of this theory. During the paleonthic age for instance coastlines of the continents were the hubs for changing landscape. Animals living in these areas, evident from fossils, migrated to different plates for survival. These fossils show the trace of the changing landmass [Tarbuck and Lutgens, 1984]. The magnetic traces of the rocks and its minerals for instance characteristics of volcanic or molten rocks all show the how rocks cooled, their particles dispersed to various levels and areas of the plate. When the plates collided the rocks got displaced but their composition remained in tact even though they became part of different landforms like mountains, ocean floor or valleys depending on how forceful the impact of the tectonic was. In America the evidence of such changing landmass is evident in the Ouachita Mountain folds, where the ocean crust meets the continental crust. Similar evidence of continental shifts is evident by the faulted sheets of land, overriding the land of the Northern area. When this process occurs, often the rocks crack and collide with new sets of mountains, displacing sedimentary layers to another level and hence form mountains, plateaus and uplifts.

There is no doubt that weathering and atmospheric pressure act as the changing factor for the landmass. However, unless the landmass itself changes, fragments of the whole landscape cannot change so drastically. For instance in North America the ocean floor gets shallower and the South America plate gets closer to the north is not the result of weathering. A shift of the landmass of this nature could only be attributed to plate tectonics. Even though the movement is slow but it is evident that the movement have been going on since age old. The traces of sedimentary rocks, the squeezed rock walls through folds as well as the fragments resulting from faulting all contribute to change in geological change. Unless large sheets of land over ride each other, one cannot really say that the formation of such geological composition the result of some weathering or even change in mantle level. Indeed the change of such massive nature through cracks, faults and folds could only be done through tectonics.

In this regard tectonicists admit that although the velocity of the movement is slow but it nevertheless exist. Furthermore, the argument that the lithosphere is thick and the plates cannot move with such speed is baseless since the plates glide above the plastic flow of the mantle and does not depend on the depth of the earth's crust. "Plate tectonicists expected seismic tomography to provide clear evidence of a well-organized convection-cell pattern, but it has actually provided strong evidence against the existence of large, plate-propelling convection cells in the upper mantle" (Anderson, Tanimoto, and Zhang, 1992 qtd. From Pratt 2000). It is through this reasoning that one come to the conclusion that the motion of plate could only be the sole reason for the shallow and deep mantle depths when the plate move to and fro, flowing over the surface of the mantle (McGeary and Plummer, 1998 qtd. From Pratt, 2000).


From the above discussion the author concludes that plate tectonics, its activities having survived thousands of years are responsible for the changing landmass. Their movement have resulted in collision and displacement of the earth's crust so that the geological composition of the different land area have integrated and stretch far and wide. Today one finds this changed mixture of geological composition is responsible for the different areas, landmass and rocks types. The reason why the landmass do not resemble each other in some instance is because the tectonics have often resulted forceful folds, faults and transform fault that it has mixed up the different layers of the earth. As a result of this, the earth today vaguely resemble the large plate that it once was.


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Austin, S., Baumgardner, J., Humphreys, D., Snelling, A., Vardiman, L., Wise, K., "Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: A Global Model of Earth… [END OF PREVIEW]

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