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The Development of the Theory of Plate Tectonics

Page history last edited by coylem@... 8 years, 5 months ago

Essential Questions:

  1. What causes Tectonic Plates to move?
  2. How did scientists figure out that the earth is covered by rigid lithospheric plates?


Enduring Understanding:

  1. Tectonic Plates move due to the creation/destruction of sea floor AND because of convection currents in the upper mantle.



Reference Materials/Assignments:


Questions/Understandings/Pre-conception Survey

Plate Tectonics Survey002.pdf



This USGS publication includes EVERYTHING you need to understand about the topic. 


Online Edition of "This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics"


It is divided into 7 sections:

  1. Preface
  2. Historical Perspective
  3. Developing the Theory
  4. Understanding Plate Motions
  5. Hot Spots: Mantle Thermal Plumes
  6. Some Unanswered Questions
  7. Plate Tectonics and People



Continental Drift + Seafloor Spreading= Plate Tectonics!!!






Continental Drift Evidence Assignment.pdf

For students: "Background Information," "Analyzing Evidence," and "Writing Frame" pages


Continental Drift Map Assignment.pdf

Worksheets are the last 4 pages of the file


The Earth's Magnetic Field "Flipping" Out


Seafloor Spreading Background Information.pdf

Seafloor Spreading Background


Seafloor Spreading Class Lab.doc





Seafloor Spreading Animation


Seafloor Spreading Online Animation


Earth-Mantle Convection


Geologic Time and Continental Locations



The Paleomap Project:  illustrating the plate tectonic development of the ocean basins and continents, as well as the changing distribution of land and sea during the past 1100 million years.


The Geologic History of the Northeastern United States


Brief Geologic History of Vermont.pdf



Still Having Trouble???  Plate Tectonics Review:

Plate Tectonics Review.pdf



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