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What Is Continental Drift Theory? How Is It Different From Plate Tectonics?

Referencing Styles : Harvard | Pages : 1

Mainly Alfred Wegener developed the hypothesis of continental drift theory in the 20th century. According to Alfred Wegener “the continents move around on the earth’s surface and they are joined together as a single supercontinent”. The scientists could not believe on the statement that the continents can move. Alfred Wegener suggested that all the continents are united once into a supercontinent named Pangaea. Pangaea means the earth in the ancient Greek. He told that the Pangaea broke a long time ago and then the continents started moving on the earth.  This theory is known as the continental drift theory.

At a time, the theory of continental drift was rejected in spite of having evidence for supporting the theory. The rejection of the theory was based on many different aspects. The continental theory has challenged the prevailing theory of the stable process. The evidences of the continental theory apprise that all the continents have segregated at a time that is in against the suggested evolutionary of the record of fossils. Many said that there was no such mechanism so that the proposed theory by Alfred Wegener can be proved. After the World War II, the plate tectonics were manifested. After studying, the floor of Atlantic Ocean because of warfare of submarine, the seafloor and the ridge of the Atlantic Ocean is spreading. At the Ridge of Mid Atlantic Ocean, the magnetic zone was symmetrical. The lava used to come from the ridge of the ocean. Then the ocean floor creates and it pushes the crust of the ocean apart. The subduction of the zones absorbs the crust after spreading the valley of rift. The ridges of the mid ocean create it to solidify the theory of the plate tectonics. For both the theories, the plate tectonics are accepted in a scientific way.

The main reasons of the continental drift are explained in a perfect way. It uses the theory of the plate tectonics. The outer shell of the earth is made of some plates. These plates moves little every year. Heat comes from the under of the earth. Over millions of year, this movement was one of the reasons of separating the supercontinent. The supercontinent separated now into seven continents. Mostly in the boundaries the movement of the plates occurs. The movement occurs between different plates. When the plates get away from each other new crust form in the boundary. The movement of tectonics destroys the crust when the plates interact. Destruction occurs when the plate moves over the convergent boundaries.

There are many impacts of continental drifts in the universe. It has affected the environment and the climate globally. Because of this, the geographical position of the world has changed and evolution occurs of the animals. Continental drifts have caused the volcanoes, tsunamis and the earthquake. Because of continental drifts, human are able to understand the movement of the crust or the plates of the earth, which causes many natural disasters. The fossils of the plants and the creatures are discovered in various countries, help to understand that the continents were a single supercontinent. After that, they broke up and the continents drift away. Mesosaurus were the aquatic reptile, which originates the fossils. These types of reptiles lived in the fresh water such as rivers and lakes. Before drifting the continents, the mesosaurus were found in North America and southern part of the Africa. After the drifting, now the Africa and the Africa are separated by Atlantic Ocean. Lystrosaurus were the land reptiles. Cygnognathus were another species. The Cygnognathus were found in the Africa and the South America and the Lystrosaurus were found in India, Africa and Antarctica. They were not able to swim. Glossopteris were the fern fossils. This fern was discovered in India, Australia, Africa, Antarctica and South America. As per the modern map, the continents are far away from each other. Therefore, it is impossible for the seeds of that particular fern blown away by wind across the ocean. This proves that, the continents were together.

Except the evidence of fossils, the climate is a clue of this fact. Alfred Wegener used the glacier to prove his theory. He discovered grooves of glaciers in all the continents. The grooves of the glaciers are the trenches of gaping, which are carved by the glacier movement. Wegener discovered that grooves of glaciers are not enough cold to form snow. When the continents are brought together and then it matched perfectly. This proves that the continents ere together. He also gave evidence of the drift of the continental by the physical shape of the coastline of the continental. The shapes match visibly like pieces of a puzzle. For example, the continent of Africa and South America fit together perfectly when they were together. This gives evidence of the continent were joined together and then they drifted away.

Alfred Wegener used the ranges of mountain the composition of rocks for providing the continental drift. He gave evidence that the mountain range of one continent match with the mountain range of the opposite continent. The perfect alignment of the ranges of the mountain gives evidence of the theory. The alignment of mountain range of Europe and the North America is perfect. Mountains were formed after the collision of two opposite lands. Rock composition was match up with the continent of opposite sides. The kinds of rocks are same on the both side of the continent. This provides evidence of the supercontinent before the drifting of the continent. Both the continents consist of same type of rock. The theory was never accepted in spite of giving so many evidence, theories, and his efforts about the continental drift. When he was asked to provide the task of movement of the continents to the various places, he was not able to provide any evidence regarding this theory. However, after the death of Alfred Wegener in the 90th century, the theory was accepted that the continents moves on the surface of the earth and after the continents drifted away from each other.


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