Drifting continents are at fault

GEOLOGIST Lindsay Walker was most entertaining and informative when he addressed the University of the Third Age’s (U3A) first meeting of the year at Settlers Park last Thursday, and spoke of tectonic plate movement and the subsequent continental drift.

UNEARTHED FOR THE SPEAKER: Geologist Lindsay Walker gave an impressive and most entertaining talk at the U3A meeting, held at Settlers Park last Thursday. Chairman Trevor Langley handed over a small token of the club’s appreciation Picture: ROB KNOWLES

Walker showed the familiar world map with the continents in their current position, and then pointed out that the planet has only looked this way for a (geologically) short time and that the Southern Hemisphere continents were all one super continent referred to Gondwana.

BELOW THE SURFACE: A map of the Earth’s tectonic plates

Looking at the map of the plates it is clear there is a similarity in the coastline profiles of, say, the Eastern side of South America and the Western side of the African continent. In the same manner, the northern side of Antarctica, the Northern side of Australasia and the western side of India. These landmasses were originally the Gondwanaland supercontinent.

For years, even up to the 1960s, scientists, especially those in the USA, would not accept continental drift as a theory, rather believing in the rather improbable idea of land bridges between the continents. Ironically, it was through US ingenuity in creating the technology, that continental drift and tectonic plates is now accepted throughout the world.

For more on this story, read this week’s Talk of the Town.

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