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Mina P.O.

Dwyer 3/4

The Theory of Plate Tectonics
On Earth, so many incredible things happen around us that are taken for granted.
To appreciate these things, we have to know why they happen. Evidence of volcanic
activity, earthquakes, fossilization, and sea floor spreading suggests that the Earths crust
is broken into many pieces (tectonic plates), and that these plates move. This is called the
Theory of Plate Tectonics.
Natural disasters such as volcanoes indicate that plate tectonics exist. Volcanoes
occur along the west side of the Americas and along the east side of Asia. This is where
tectonic plates are supposed to meet. A process called subduction is caused by a
difference in plate density. A denser oceanic plate meets and slides under a less dense
continental plate, and this causes friction. At the edges of continents, subduction occurs
and strings of volcanoes are formed. Here, magma is made because of this friction,
travels toward the surface of the Earths crust, and creates a volcano. The lines of
volcanoes where plates meet and subduct are substantiations of oceanic and continental
plates, and therefore plate tectonics as a whole.
An earthquake is essentially movement of the Earths crust. Earthquakes occur on
fault lines where tectonic plates meet and subduct or where there are cracks on a tectonic
plate. Earthquakes and volcanoes both appear on the east side of Asia. This is evidence of
a common cause to earthquakes and volcanoes: plate tectonics. On these faults, energy
and pressure accrue over long periods of time and eventually release their tension,
causing earthquakes. The release of pressure causes terrain to shift and leaves an
underground indication of earthquakes. One can experience earthquakes when they
happen or examine the evidence that has been left behind. If there were no plates to build
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up pressure, earthquakes would never occur. Evidence shows that earthquakes do indeed
exist, and therefore there must be such thing as tectonic plates.
Fossil distribution of certain past species shows that tectonic plates have caused
continents to shift. By looking at fossils of animals that were part of our past world,
Pangaea, we can tell they were unable to swim. Since all of these animals could not
swim, but were found on different continents, we can infer that continents were isolated
over time. Because Earth is made up of separate continents now, the act of travelling over
millions of years must have disconnected the continents. Researching this fossil
distribution has helped people know that there are continental plates that are able to move
and break up pieces of land.
Plate tectonics influence the ocean as well as land. Sea floor spreading is due to
movement of the earths crust. Subduction causes magma to travel to the surface of the
ocean, moves outward, and is replaced by new rock that cools and settles over time. Sea
floor spreading takes place on cracks and intersections of tectonic plates. The newest rock
is often in between areas of older rock. The lines formed where rock is renewed are along
edges of the Pacific, Nazca, African, and Australian Plates. The profound concept that
rock on the ocean floor can restore itself is supported and explained by the theory of plate
tectonics.
All these processes confirm the theory of plate tectonics. For one, volcanoes,
because of subduction, prove that the Earth has tectonic plates. Earthquakes and fossils
then tell us that the Earths crust, due to tectonic plates, can move. Sea floor spreading
proves that there are tectonic plates under the ocean as well as under the continents. This
also supports the system of subduction (including both oceanic and continental plates),
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which causes many of these processes. If these processes did not exist, or if they were in
no way related to each other, there would not be a plausible explanation. Volcanoes,
earthquakes, and sea floor spreading have similar if not exact position. The combination
of the location of these events can show where tectonic plates are. Together, all these data
signify that the Earth is made up of plate tectonics.