Evaluate How Plate Tectonic Theory Helps Our Understanding of the Distribution of Seismic and Volcanic Events (40 Marks)

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Evaluate how Plate Tectonic Theory helps our Understanding of the Distribution of Seismic and Volcanic Events (40 marks) The Plate Tectonic Theory developed in the late 1960’s, when people noticed how continents either side of the Atlantic Ocean seemed to almost fit together. Francis Bacon, an English Philosopher was aware of this as early as 1620. Topographical and geological evidence built up and allowed Alfred Wegener to publish a theory in 1912, suggesting that the continents were once all joined together in a supercontinent he called Pangaea. Wegener proposed that at some time, the land masses had drifted apart until they occupied their current positions on the globe. There was lots of evidence to support his theory including Continental Fit. Sometimes continents, such as the west of Africa and the eastern seaboard of South America, seem to fit together if placed beside each other. This is particularly true is the continental shelves are taken into account as the true edges of the land masses. There is also Geological Evidence where rocks of the same age and type and displaying the same formations, such as in south-east Brazil and South Africa. The trends of the mountains are also similar in eastern USA and North-west Europe. Similar glacial deposits are found in Antarctica, South America and India, which are now many kilometres apart. Climatological Evidence shows that places as far apart as Antarctica, North America and the UK all contain coal deposits of a similar age that were formed in tropical conditions. They are no longer in tropical climate zones and must have drifted apart since the Carboniferous period. Biological Evidence shows that similar fossil formations are found on either side of the Atlantic. Plant remains from humid swamps that later formed coal deposits have been found in India and Antarctica. Although Wegener had convincing evidence for continental drift, people were quick to point out that there was no explanation of the mechanism by...
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