Sunday, January 15, 2023

Science in pills: Plate tectonics

Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that explains how major landforms are created as a result of Earth’s subterranean movements. The theory transformed the earth sciences by explaining many phenomena, including mountain building events, volcanoes, and earthquakes.

The idea that continents moved in time was proposed by Alfred Wegener who published two articles in which he introduced the concept of continental drift in 1912. 

The continents we see today are fragments of a supercontinent called Pangea, a unique piece of crust formed by what are now the individual continents.

To support his theory, Wegener simply had to look at the coasts of Brazil and West Africa, which seem to fit together like a puzzle. Similar rock formations and fossils found on either side gave a strong support to this theory. The two continents are still separated nowadays.

Despite being dismissed at first, the theory gained steam in the 1950s and 1960s as new data began to support the idea of continental drift. 

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