Plate Tectonics Theory

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“EVALUATE HOW PLATE TECTONICS THEORY HELPS OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE DISTRIBUTON OF SEISMIC AND VOLCANIC EVENTS”

In this essay I am going to look in detail at plate tectonic theory and how it can be used to explain seismic and volcanic events worldwide. However, I will also look at other potential causes of these events, and some evidence that does not follow the theory that all these events are caused by plate boundaries. I am going to look at a range of case studies from differing scales from all areas of the world in order to back up my points. These case studies will include Japan 2011, Koynanagar 1967, Lincoln 2008, Surtsey and the ‘Ring of Fire’. I hope after looking at these case studies in some greater detail I will be able to conclude to what extent plate tectonics theory explains seismic and volcanic events. Plate tectonics theory was something first introduced by German researcher Alfred Wegener in 1915, when he published his theory that the world once began as one continent, ‘Pangaea’, that split into two continents, and continued to until it reached the way it is today. This theory was based upon his discovery that the earth’s continents appear to fit together like a jigsaw through fossil patterns, geology and the rough shape of continents. For example, fossil brachiopods found in Indian limestone were comparable with similar fossils in Australia and the fossil remains of Mesosaurus’ were found in both South America and southern Africa. The geological evidence includes rock sequences in Northern Scotland being very similar to those found in East Canada, indicating that they were put down under the same conditions in one location as well as the jig saw fitting appearance of today’s continents, in particular, the bulge of south America fitting into the indent below west Africa. All of this evidence gave Wegener enough belief for his theory of plate tectonics and continental drift, however because he could not prove why and how it happened...
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