The Living Machine Essay Research Paper The

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The Living Machine Essay, Research Paper The Living Machine We live in an extraordinary era of exploration. We are now able to reach far out into space and deep down into the ocean. We have the advantage with technology such as computers and satellites. We can now simply understand the dynamic forces that shape our Earth. Our Earth is constantly destructing and recreating. It balances through a continuous rebirth cycle. The Earth’s dynamic shape can be summed up very simply-Transfer Of Energy. This “Big Idea” helps to explain many things such as plate tectonics, ocean floor spreading, continental drift, volcanoes, earthquakes, just about everything that happens naturally on earth. Plate Tectonics links together Alfred Wegener’s theory of continental drift and Harry

Hess’s theory of ocean floor spreading. Alfred Wegener was a German meteorologist living in the first half of this century. He thought that long, long ago at one time all of the continents had been joined together as one gigantic land mass he called Pangaea. Finally after a long period of time the huge land mass had broken apart and slowly became what it is today and was believed to be still changing. Many scientists did not accept Wegener’s theory, but he kept on collecting evidence to support it. Finally, fossils of the same organism on many different continents were found. This helped to support his idea even more then fitting the continents together like a puzzle. Glossopteris fossils, which are found in rocks, were found in South America, Australia, India, and

Antarctica. These organisms were too large to be carried continent to continent by wind and were not tough enough to survive a trip across the ocean. This made scientist confused. One of the clearest sets of evidence is found in the rocks of Africa and South America. The rock formations in Africa lined up with matching ones in South America. Several years after Wegener had died, the theory of Continental Drift was finally accepted. It was very hard for many of the scientists to accept that the continents would have to plow through hard, solid ocean floor. During the 1950’s and 1960’s new equipment and methods enabled scientists to make better observations of the ocean floor. With special mapping techniques the scientists discovered a very large rift valley in the center of

the ocean. These chains of underwater mountains are called the midocean ridges. This 80,000 kilometer long mountain chain is the largest in the world! Ocean floor spreading is when lava erupts from the rift valley that runs the length of the ridge. As the ocean floor moves away on both side of the ridge lava wells up and hardens. The hardened lava forms a new ocean floor. As a piece of the ocean floor moves it takes the continent with it. As the ocean floor spreads, the older rocks move further away from the ridge. New deep-sea drilling machines also provide evidence to support this idea. Scientists have now also discovered that the hardened lava is leaving magnetic stripes. Some minerals have magnetic properties and in molten rock the magnetic mineral particles line up in the

direction of the Earth’s magnetic poles. This phenomenon has cause the poles to reverse themselves nine times! Because of ocean floor spreading it might make you think that the Earth is getting bigger. Well, that wrong, here’s why. The oldest rock on land is about 400 billion years old, while the oldest rock on the ocean floor is only about 200 million years old. The ocean floor is being destroyed as fast as it is being created by ocean floor spreading. The compelling evidence for continental drift and ocean floor spreading caused many of the old theories about the Earth to be forgotten. Soon a new theory about the evolution of the Earth came about and it was named Plate Tectonics. This theory states that there are many, many plates, or irregularly shapes slabs that fit