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Development of the plate tectonic theory

Presented by Richard Sedlock
San Jose State University

What is plate tectonics?

The theory of plate tectonics provides Earth scientists with an extraordinarily successful framework for understanding earthquakes, the uplift and erosion of mountains, volcanoes, and most other aspects of earth sciences (tectonics refers to processes that move solid rock).

The basic premise of plate tectonics: Earth's outer shell is divided into about a dozen cold, thin, independent plates that constantly move relative to one another on top of a weaker, partly molten layer. More on this later. Let's examine how the concepts of plate tectonics developed.

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updated January 28, 2002

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