Distribution of Oceans and Continents
Alfred Wegener, a German meteorologist put forth “the Continental Drift Theory” in 1912. About 300 years ago, all the continents formed a single continental mass.
The super continent was named ‘Pangaea’, which meant ‘all earth’. A mega ocean surrounded ‘Pangaea’, which was called ‘Panthalassa’, meaning ‘all water’.
Pangaea began to break up into two large continental masses called Laurasia and Gondwanaland. Laurasia and Gondwanaland continued to break into land masses, which look similar to our modern-day continents.
There are several evidences in the support of Continental Drift Theory. Some of these are:
The matching of continents (Jig-Saw-Fit)
Rocks of same age across the oceans
Distribution of fossils
The movement responsible for drifting of continents was caused by pole-fleeing and tidal force. Post-Drift studies include Convectional Current Theory and Mapping the Ocean Floor.
Ocean floor configuration helps us to understand the distribution of continents and oceans. It is segmented into three major divisions:
Sea-floor spreading refers to the process in which the ocean floor is extended when two plates move apart.
Tectonic plate is a massive, irregularly-shaped slab of solid rock, generally composed of both continental and oceanic lithosphere. It is also known as lithospheric plate. There are seven major and many minor plates.
There are three types of plate boundaries:
Convergent boundary and,
The slow movement of hot, softened mantle that lie below the rigid plates is the driving force behind the plate movement.