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What is the
Plate Tectonic
How is it different than the
Continental Drift Theory?
Plate Tectonic Theory
• Plate Tectonic Interactive Map
• Adds to Wegener’s Theory of Continental Drift.
• States the lithosphere is divided into broken
pieces (tectonic plates) that are shifting over
the asthenosphere (upper mantle).
• *** So instead of the continents drifting, the
lithospheres crustal plates (which is part
continental and oceanic crust).
Evidence to Support the Plate Tectonic
• All of the previous evidence Wegner used
to support the continental drift theory.
• Earthquakes, volcanoes, and mountains
are most frequent along plate boundaries.
**** It is unlikely for an earthquake or
volcano to occur in areas like NY b/c we
are far away from an actual plate
Sea floor Spreading
sea floor spreadingprocess by which the
seafloor widens as it
• Magma rises at a rift and
pushes the two plates
• Ages of the Rocks and
volcanic islands match on
either side of the Rift
• As the distance from the
ridge the age of the volcanic
island increases
Age of the Sea floor
• Measured distance and
the age of the sea floor
• As distance
from the Ridge
increases the
age of the sea
floor increases
Distance from ridge
Magnetic Pole Reversals
• Prove sea floor
spreading because
there is a matching
pattern of pole
reversals on either side
of the ridge.
Scientists believe the earths
magnetic poles have flipped
multiple times because of the
molten metal outer core is
spinning with the earth.
*** This has not been proven yet it
is a hypothesis
Video discussing flips
in polarity