MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: How is Seafloor Spreading different from Continental Drift???

Date: Tue Feb 16 04:22:43 1999
Posted By: Luke McCormick, , Health Physics, US Army
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 918778161.Es

Both seafloor spreading and continental drift are parts of the same thing. It is called plate tectonics and is a theory of how the earth is changing. Basically, the continents sit on plates. These plates 'float' on the molten part of the earth. Molten earth is under pressure and pushes up at certain spots in the earth's crust. One of these spots is in the Atlantic ocean and the molten material is comin up and hardening, pushing out to the sides the surrounding crust. This is called seafloor spreading. The resulting push on the crustal plates pushes the plates apart, North America and Europe are on different plates, and the seafloor spreading between them causes the continents on the plates to drift apart.

For a more complete explanation you may wish to look through a number websites that address these things. The best way to find them is to use a search engine. (my favorite is webcrawler at Webcrawler) Search for the phrase "plate tectonics" (put the phrase in double quotes so that you don't get all the sites that contain the word plate and all the sites that contain the word tectonics)

[Moderator note: You can search the Mad Scientist archives. Here is one semi-related article we have: Continental Drift]

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