Continental Drift

Development of a Theory

Alfred Wegener was an astronomer who was interested in geophysics and the 'new' sciences of meteorology and climatology.

Harry Hess and Plate Tectonics

TASK 16: Create a tribute to Alfred Wegener. Write a poem, or a play, comic, story or video. Include the highlights of Wegener's life and scientific theory.

Tectonic Facts

Today we use satellites and GPS to accurately map the movement of continents. On average, plates move a few centimeters each year. The continents are attached to the plates and do not move independently - the plates shift and change shape, carrying the continents with them. As the plates collide and grind past each other the rocks are stretched, crushed, deformed and sometimes melted.

TASK 17: Use the resources below (and/or others) to create a diagram of the seven major tectonic plates. Indicate the direction the plate is moving, and identify major collision zones. Identify the Ring of Fire, the San Andreas fault and the Himalayas. There is a blank tectonic plate sheet attached as a file at the bottom of the page.

TASK 18: Answer the following questions. Why is Australia so geologically stable? Why is New Zealand so geologically active?

Review plate tectonics.

Program trailer that talks about Australia and New Zealand.

Another phenomena was also explained by sea-floor spreading - the mystery of ocean floor magnetism and how it was linked to the reversal of Earth's global magnetic field...