Plate Techtonics Project

By: Zachary Hamilton


In this smore, I will be answering main questions about plate tectonics and the theory of continental drift and plate tectonics. I will also be answering about who found this out and why is it important etc. I hope you enjoy!

Question 1: What are the three layers of the Earth and why is each layer important?

The three layers of the earth are the crust, the mantle and the inner & outer core. The Crust is important to us because it is the layer that we live on. It’s where the plants grow and where water is. If we didn't have the crust, there would be no place for plants so there would be no photosynthesis which means no oxygen. So in order to have the life we have now on earth we have to have the earth's crust. Next is the mantle The Mantle is responsible for the movement of the Tectonic Plates over the Earth which comes from the decay of radioactive elements in the Mantle that cause the convection currents in the Mantle which in turn causes the movement of the tectonic plates. Therefore, this convection is responsible for shaping the Earth's surface. The Mantle also moves the Earth's crust. As the mantle convents, old plate material Earth’s from the surface is pulled down into the mantle at subduction zones, dragging the continents and oceans with it. Last but not least is the Inner & Outer Core. First, I will start with the outer core, the outer core is responsible for controlling the earth’s Magnetic Field which protects the planet from harmful chemicals floating around in the solar system. The Inner core is responsible for the earth being magnetic because it is basically a solid in the middle of the earth. This is one of the reasons why the outer core helps/creates the magnetic field against the earth.

Question 2: Explain continental drift.

The Continental Drift is the everlasting movement of the continents; they say that the continents were once together in a supercontinent called Pangaea. This continent drifted apart hundreds of millions of years ago after a long period of time, it formed the continents that we live on today. Pretty soon, they think that the supercontinent will be together once more in the next hundred million years or so.

Question 3: Who created the hypothesis for continental drift?

The continent, Pangaea eventually separated and drifted apart, forming into the seven continents we have today. The first comprehensive theory of continental drift was suggested by the German meteorologist Alfred Wegener in 1912.

Question 4: What evidence (2 types) did scientists use to prove continental drift?

Two things that scientists believe this theory is that the continents, Africa, and South America fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Another or the main reason is that meteorologist Alfred Wegener took two samples of fossils found on two separate continents. After a long time of research, he found out the two fossils originated from the same continent and they were in the same species group.

Question 5: Explain sea-floor spreading.

Seafloor Spreading is the formation of new areas on the oceanic crust. Which occurs trough the upwelling of magma at the mid ocean ridges and move onwards in different directions.

Question 6: Who discovered sea-floor spreading?

Harry Hess was the one who made the theory of seafloor spreading. He found this out while he was a soldier in the time of the WWII era. He was assigned to look over the deepest parts of the sea. In 1946, he discovered tons of small, flat topped mountains. In 1960, he proposed the theory of seafloor spreading in 1960; he claimed that the continents were the cause of seafloor spreading.

Question 7: How does sea-floor spreading help scientists to explain continental drift?

Seafloor spreading helps explain continental drift in the theory of plate tectonics. It made scientists think and believe the theory of the Ring of Fire.

Question 8: Explain how convection helps with plate movement.

All the islands in the Pacific are on one big conveyor belt. Hot spots move the plates up and out trenches form at these divergent moving away from each other plate boundaries. These ocean plates are lighter than continents. So when they hit the continents, they sink underneath of them! This is called subduction. So the lighter plate melts underneath the earth, flows around the magma part of the earth for a while, and ends up becoming new seafloor, eventually, when it gets pushed up a hotspot again, which moves the plates into the continents.

Question 9: What is the theory of plate tectonics?

Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth's outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core. The plates act like a hard and rigid shell compared to earth’s mantle.

Question 10: Describe the types of plate boundaries that exist (transform, divergent, convergent, and convergent with subduction.

A transform plate boundary is when two plates are grinding their sides against each other; this causes trenches in the ocean floor and some of the continental crust. In plate tectonics, a divergent boundary or divergent plate boundary (also known as a constructive boundary or an extensional boundary) is a linear feature that exists between two tectonic plates that are moving away from each other. A convergent plate boundary is when two plates collide with each other. This is the type of plate movement that is what makes the mountains. Convergent with subduction is when two plates collide and one goes under neath the other. This type made the Andes Mountains.

Question 11: Explain the significance of the Ring of Fire

The Ring of Fire is important because it is kind of like a "waste basket" for the earth. The earth releases pressure by volcanic eruptions all over the world, the Ring of Fie absorbs all of the pressure from the volcanic eruptions.

Question 12: Describe the type of geographical features and natural disasters that can occur at the three types of plate boundaries

One natural disaster that occurs on almost all plate boundaries is an earthquake. It causes severe damage to cities and other objects in it's path of destruction. One natural disaster that occurs on plate boundaries is volcanoes. Volcanoes can cause a lot more damage than earthquakes. These can happen mainly on convergent plate boundaries. Some geographic features that occur on plate boundaries are trenches, mid-ocean ridges, mountains.


I hope that this was very helpful to everyone. I hope that I was able to help you understand plate tectonics and continental drift.

Thank you and have a great day!