The Plate Tectonic Theory mainly revolves in the idea that the Earth’s crust was made up of rigid and thin plates that are in motion relative to each other. The theory was first proposed during the 1960 and was later on developed by other scientists and geologists to fully explain the logic behind the formation of continents and oceans, as well as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Two of the proponents helped in the development of the theory were Alfred Wegener and Arthur Holmes.
Wegener was the first to observe the relationship between the shapes of the seven continents. He saw that their shapes fit together, as if they were pieces from a jigsaw puzzle. From here, he built up the continental drift theory, saying that the before, continents were just a mass of a large land, or simply a plate. This landmass drifted apart and turned to smaller parts—the seven continents. However, Wegener had nothing to support the theory, until the day Arthur Holmes suggested his of convection currents.
According to Holmes, certain convection cells were the components of the Earth’s mantle. These convection cells are the responsible for the movements of the Earth’s crust through the radioactive heat they dissipate. Because of his discovery, Wegener’s theory was given support and proved to be true. However, how could we really imagine the process behind Plate tectonic? To better illustrate how the Earth’s crust move, an example using a pot of water could be used. Let us assume that the pot of water is the Earth’s mantle.
If we would boil the pot of the water, heat would be produced. Let us imagine this heat as the convection cells composing the Earth’s mantle. Through the heat, the pot of water suddenly emits a great amount of energy that could move a material near it. The movements could be divergent, convergent, or transform. In divergent boundaries, the plates are sliding apart from one another. In convergent, though, the two plates are sliding towards one another. Finally, transform boundaries occur when the plates are grinding past one another.