2.A.6 New Discoveries Leading to Plate Tectonics: Evidence for Seafloor Spreading

In the early twentieth century, publication of the hypothesis on continental drift caused an uproar that soon died down. Data collected in mid-century led geologists to reconsider the idea that continents could move. During the 1960s and 1970s, old ideas were reworked into what is now called the theory of plate tectonics. As we will see, this robust theory encompasses many geological phenomena that appear to be unrelated at first glance: earthquakes and volcanoes, but also ice ages, fossils, and mountains. Today, plate tectonics provides an overarching framework for interpreting the Earth. We study its details in Week 2, but we will return to this theory again and again throughout the rest of this course.

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