(Solution) OCE1001 INTRO OCEANOGRAPHY: Unit 1 discussion

The development of modern plate tectonics was one of the major scientific achievements attributed to geological oceanography. Plate tectonics reveals the physical processes responsible for the topographical features present on our planet as well as provides insight into future occurrences of tectonic activity and the associated impacts. The evolution from the Continental Drift hypothesis to the current plate tectonic theory is historically rich but can, at times, be somewhat confusing due to its length and complexity.

  1. In your own words, write a brief narrative describing some of the main developments leading up to the theory of plate tectonics. (cite your sources)
  2. Which one of the developments do you think was the most influential in the acceptance of modern plate tectonics and why?
  3. Suggest a discussion topic for this unit (Geological Oceanography) and describe why it would be a good topic for the class to talk about.


Arguably, the plate tectonic theory is among the most important theories that explain the topographical features of the earth. However, way before the theory was proposed, earlier theories, attempted to explain the physical processes that have shaped the earth overtime. While the earlier theories have been criticized due to various shortcomings, they were cornerstone to the development of the plate tectonic theory. The continental drift hypothesis, developed by Alfred Wegener in 1912, is the fundamental explanation of the plate tectonic theory. The hypothesis explains how the continents shift position in relation to one another during one or various geologic time episodes (Hallam & Hallam, 1973). According to Wegener, there existed a supercontinent regarded as Pangea, which fragmented and parts starting drifting away from each other. Another major development leading to the plate tectonics theory was the seafloor hypothesis that was proposed by Harry Hess in 1960…Please click here to download at$5