Scientists Closing in on the Dawn of Plate Tectonics
"The massive slabs of Earth’s crust might have started their journey more than 3.5 billion years ago"

By Shannon Hall on September 22, 2017

My father never heard of plate tectonics until I was in college. He did not believe me to his dying day that such events occurred on the planet. 

I found geology interesting in high school and so earned my college minor in geology. Looking at landforms, fitting them together as in a jigsaw intrigued me. Learning of the similarities of flora and fauna on the continents of Africa and S. America offered further evidence of those two giant continents once being connected, broke apart, and opened the gap that created the S. Atlantic ocean. 

My interest in botany confirmed the conclusions drawn by scientists that these land masses were once of one piece. Evidence mounted until I could look at the globe and be fully comfortable with the idea that the planet had not always looked as it does now. 

Using all this accumulation of facts from different resources did not change Dad's mind. Oh! I wonder how many other things I learned from my elders were not trustworthy? Evidence began to pile up, based on what I learned as a college student. New ideas, new arguments, new awareness, new options, and new opportunities opened up.

Oh! Yes! I am an atheist who loves science.  

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Replies to This Discussion

That's why we can't stay in the past.

I also loved that college geology class of mine, I took that as part of my geography minor. Yes, the love of science. My degrees are only in Mathematics and Computer Science but I still love reading on all other science things.

Joan, did your Dad say why he didn't believe in plate tectonics?  Did it have anything to do with religion?

Maps. I loved them when I was a kid, service station state maps and NatGeo world maps. I memorized the state capitals, 48 then, and was sure South America and Africa had once been joined. While in college at the Univ. of Florida I used US Geological Survey maps as I kayaked or canoed north Fla. lakes and rivers, including the Suwanee.

Plate tectonics. I remember reading of an Alvarez father-son team hypothesizing it in the 1960s but have since then seen it credited to someone else.

AS GB Shaw said, youth is wasted on the young.




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