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Seismic And Volcanic Events Are Major Pieces Of Evidence Towards Proving That Plate Tectonic Theory Is Valid. Discuss The Extent To Which You Agree With This View. (40)

981 words - 4 pages

Seismic and volcanic events are major pieces of evidence towards proving that plate tectonic theory is valid. Discuss the extent to which you agree with this view. (40)
Plate tectonics is the theory that explains the structure and motion of the Earth’s lithosphere. The theory states that the Earth’s crust is split into large sections called tectonic plates, and these move relative to one another creating boundaries at which plates converge, diverge and move past each other. Alfred Wegener pioneered the theory of continental drift in the early 1900s which he supported with multiple pieces of evidence. Perhaps the earliest indicator of the theory was the apparent fit of some of the Earth’s ...view middle of the document...

Because the Earth is not changing in size, material is being destroyed in other areas called subduction zones, and the position of the Earth’s crust must be constantly changing.
Seismic activity can also tell us a great deal about plate tectonics. By plotting the locations of large earthquakes on a map of the world we can see where they most frequently occur. Earthquakes are caused by the movement of tectonic plates; as they move past each other the friction causes pressure to build up which is released in sudden jolts. This can only occur at plate boundaries, so areas that lie on them experience the most frequent and intense earthquakes. The fact that earthquakes appear in connected lines as opposed to clusters is good evidence for the theory of global plate tectonics.
Volcanoes can also provide good evidence for the theory of plate tectonics. Plotting the locations of active volcanoes on a map of the world shows a similar pattern to earthquakes, although it is not as clear because volcanoes do not exist at all types of plate boundary. The three main places where volcanoes are created are at subduction zones, constructive plate boundaries and in hotspots, with around 75% of the world’s volcanoes being located on the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’. Subduction zones are plate boundaries where two plates converge and one pushes underneath the other. This happens when dense oceanic crust meets more buoyant continental crust, or when two oceanic plates collide. This causes the subducted plate to melt, and magma rises up creating volcanoes, either on existing land, or in the form of volcanic island arcs. Because magma comes to the surface in this way it is thick and contains a lot of gas and water, meaning the eruptions are often violent and explosive. At constructive plate boundaries, new material is created by magma rising...

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