Earth Science 4.2<br />Restless Continents<br />
Objectives:<br />DescribeWegener’s hypothesis of continental drift.<br />Explain how sea-floor spreading provides a way fo...
Wegener’s Continental Drift Hypothesis<br />Continental drift <br />Hypothesis that states that continents once formed a s...
The Breakup of Pangaea<br />Wegener theorized that all of the present continents were once joined in a single, huge contin...
Sea-Floor Spreading<br />Evidence to support the continental drift hypothesis comes from sea-floor spreading.<br />Sea-flo...
Evidence for Sea-Floor Spreading: Magnetic Reversals<br />Some of the most important evidence of sea-floor spreading comes...
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Earth Science 4.2 : Restless Continents

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Earth Science 4.2 : Restless Continents

  1. 1. Earth Science 4.2<br />Restless Continents<br />
  2. 2. Objectives:<br />DescribeWegener’s hypothesis of continental drift.<br />Explain how sea-floor spreading provides a way for continents to move.<br />Describe how new oceanic lithosphere forms at mid-ocean ridges.<br />Explain how magnetic reversals provide evidence for sea-floor spreading.<br />
  3. 3. Wegener’s Continental Drift Hypothesis<br />Continental drift <br />Hypothesis that states that continents once formed a single landmass, broke up, and drifted to their present locations.<br />Scientist Alfred Wegener developed the hypothesis in the early 1900s.<br />
  4. 4. The Breakup of Pangaea<br />Wegener theorized that all of the present continents were once joined in a single, huge continent he called Pangaea.<br />Pangaea is Greek for “all earth.”<br />Existed about 245 million years ago.<br />Mesosaurus<br />
  5. 5. Sea-Floor Spreading<br />Evidence to support the continental drift hypothesis comes from sea-floor spreading.<br />Sea-floor spreading<br />Process by which new oceanic lithosphere forms as magma rises toward the surface and solidifies.<br />Mid-Ocean Ridges and Sea-Floor Spreading<br />Mid-ocean ridges are underwater mountain chains that run through Earth’s ocean basins.<br />These mid-ocean ridges are the places where sea-floor spreading takes place.<br />
  6. 6.
  7. 7. Evidence for Sea-Floor Spreading: Magnetic Reversals<br />Some of the most important evidence of sea-floor spreading comes from magnetic reversals recorded in the ocean floor.<br />Throughout Earth’s history, the north and south magnetic poles have changed places many times.<br />Molten rock at the mid-ocean ridge contains tiny grains of magnetic minerals that act like compasses<br />These minerals align with the magnetic field of the Earth. When the molten rock cools, the record of these tiny compasses remains in the rock.<br />When the Earth’s magnetic field reverses,<br />The magnetic mineral grains align in the opposite direction. The new rock records the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field.<br />As the sea floor spreads away from a mid-ocean ridge, it carries with it a record of these magnetic reversals.<br />
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