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Theory of Continental Drift - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Task: Date: Theory of Continental Drift Alfred Wegener, who was a gifted German expert in meteorology, astronomy and geology took part in three excursions to Greenland. Wegener’s most prominent contribution was his cohesive theory on the theory of the origin of continents…
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Theory of Continental Drift
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Download file to see previous pages Some of the evidence gathered in the last part of the twentieth century to support the theory of continental drift includes the glacial till deposits. With the continents in their current locations, the till deposits tend to point towards an inconsistent glacier kinesis. Fitting the continents together reveals a more reorganized motion of the glaciers from the southern Africa region to northern Australia outward (Bugielski, 1999). Paleontologists discovered fossils of species that bore similarities to other species that are in continents now isolated by enormous distance. Paleoclimate studies, a science dealing with the study of the earth’s climate in the periods past discloses that glaciers stretched over large tracts of the world which are now rendered apart by colossal geographic spans. This evidence appears to point to the fact that the lithosphere had been travelling over geologic time. A Paleomagnetic study, which investigates the Earth,’s past magnetic activities also tend to strongly support the theory of continental drift. Studies show that the magnetic north pole apparently strolled all over the earth, indicating that either the tectonic plates or the North Pole was moving. But because the North Pole is in effect fixed with the exception of cycles of magnetic reversal, this evidence becomes a strong endorsement of the theory of continental drift. More evidence surfaced in the wake of World War II when seismometers were set up to check nuclear testing. These gadgets revealed that volcanoes and earthquakes aligned along apparent belts around the globe and that these belts delineated the boundaries of tectonic plates. Scientists rejected Wegener’s ideas then because he did not explain why and how the continents moved, he just provided observational evidence that they had indeed moved. In the absence of reasonable physical mechanism to support continental drift, many scientists simply found the idea unacceptable. Back in his times, many scientists were of the conviction that the structure of the earth was because of the earth going through successive phases of heating and cooling that resulted in the expansion and contraction of landmasses (Aber, 2007). If they were to believe Wegener’s theory, it would mean that they would have to forget everything that they had learnt and start all over again. As time passed, increasingly more evidence supporting continental drift became available and more practitioners had to align themselves with this new sphere of knowledge. These ideas accentuate the theory of an ocean floor that evolves and repositions. This theory is popularly known as Plate Tectonics. Scientific method relates to techniques for probing events, obtaining new and novel knowledge and re-examining the earlier knowledge and beliefs. The key attribute that differentiates a scientific method from any other method of knowledge acquisition is the fact that knowledge is gained through evidence and proof. Scientific method comprises four main stages: The first is the examination and explanation of phenomena followed by the construction of a theory to account for the same phenomena. The third stage is the use of the theory to, quantitatively, predicts the outcome of new observations. The final stage is the piloting of thoroughly conducted experiments on the predictions by several competent and impartial experimenters and finally a conclusion regarding the outcome of such experiments ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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