In the midst of all the Topographic Talk, I mentioned how plate tectonics are actually not the ONLY cause of all these changes to the Earth's surface.
I wasn't kidding.
I know, MIND-BLOWN!
While plate tectonics do effect much of our planet, they are not alone in this! Thanks to constructive and destructive geologic processes, we have a variety of different landforms and other places in our world, all created in some sort of way!
Okay, first of all, WHAT THE HECK IS A CONSTRUCTIVE OR DESTRUCTIVE PROCESS?
Welllll, I could simply explain it to you, but it must be tiring having to listen to me. So, I created a Kahoot! that talks about what constructive and destructive forces are, and provided some examples of landforms created by these processes as well!
There are many different examples of constructive and destructive forces. The interactions between the lithosphere (rocks,) atmosphere (air,) and hydrosphere (water,) affect the surface of the Earth.
Soooooo, why don't I share some constructive and destructive forces?
What can construct and destruct land?
Instead of going in full depth of what each of these examples of constructive and destructive forces do, why don't I let this processing page do that for me?
BEWARE, because this will be the most colorful thing you've ever seen. (when is something that I'VE created NOT colorful??)
Along with plate tectonics, there are a variety of other geologic processes that impact the Earth's surface. However, how are we supposed to know about the surfaces of other planets, or map out the bottom of the ocean? We've never been to Jupiter and gotten the opportunity to study the gas-y planet. Getting to every crevasse of an underwater area can't be an easy task to do either. So, how do we it?
Well, sometimes, but how can these orbiting objects tell us about the Earth's surface is they are so far away?
Scientists use something called remote sensing, which is the process of finding and studying the physical characteristics of an object without touching it.
Or, if you want a more science-y definition:
Remote sensing is the scanning/studying of the Earth's surface to help us obtain information about it, without actually making physical contact.
Wait, which one was more science-y?
Whatever, it's all a matter of opinion.
Please enjoy this lovely, (and certainly colorful,) processing page in my notebook that helps explain more about remote sensing and all DAT!:
My wonderful creation not only compares remote sensing with shopping via the magical internet, but it ALSO brings up how we use and evaluate the data scientists get from remote sensing: Topographic Maps!
Topographic Maps consist of the loads of data we gather through remote sensing. These maps represent 3D features on a 2D surface, using contour lines to show elevations in land.
Here's an example:
This topographic map is pretty simple, but it still does a good job presenting the purpose of contour lines.
THE MAIN (and honestly, basic,) RULE FOR THESE LINES:
Closer Lines = Steeper Land
Lines That Are Farther Apart = Flatter Land.
Looking at the map on the right, the lines are closer together on the bottom, which tells me that the land is much steeper there.
However, as you move further up the map, the land becomes much flatter and not as steep, based off of how much distance there are between the lines!
Topographic maps can represent a bunch of landforms: mountains, deltas, hills, I could go ON. You can identify which one it actually is by evaluating the handy dandy, contour lines!
Take this map for example:
First thing you might notice about our mystery landform, based off of our contour line rule, is how it's flatter on the top and steeper as it goes down.
So, by taking that logic into consideration, it's safe to say that...
This landform is a hill!
Remote sensing and topographic maps suuuureeee do help us find out a lot of information about the Earth's surface, as well as the area of other planets!
Pretty rad, I do say!
Poor old Alfred Wegener wasn't given the credit he deserved during his time alive, but he certainly has earned an ounce of our appreciation! Wegener spent most of his life studying the Earth's surface. His theory of continental drift and his studies of tectonic plates helped scientists find out more about the surface of the Earth. To show my gratitude, I decided to write a letter to the ghost of Alfred Wegener to let him know how grateful we are. I even mentioned some of his research :)
Dear Ghost of Alfred Wegner,
GREETINGS! My name is Doctor Heffen-feffer and I am an esteemed scientist/geologist in our present-day life! It’s alright, you can chuckle at my surname if you want to, I’ll understand. Haha, sometimes I do as well! But I’m not writing this letter as an opportunity for you to have a laughing fit about my last name, I would like to start this off by letting you know that the information you studied during your time alive has been so intensely reliable! All your studies about continental drift have helped us research the fantastic planet we live on: Earth. In fact, why don’t we go ahead and reminisce on a couple of your wonderful discoveries?
I’ve read your book a numerous number of times, and there is one topic that I personally love! (I’m not the biggest reader, so this is a pleasant surprise to me as well!) Let's discuss good ol' Pangea! At one point, ALL the continents were together, like a HUGE puzzle, as one LARGE supercontinent. How RAD! The evidence to support your claim stated that about 300 million years ago, our seven continents had the same fossils within them, called the Early Glossopteris Flora. But soon, those fossils began to differentiate, therefore causing the one huge landmass to break apart and all begin to form their own distinctive continent. What an extravagant thing!
However, how were we able to prove that your claims weren’t bogus? A lot has come our way ever since your passing! (R.I.P. Wegner!) Let’s talk about all the evidence that we gathered! First off, scientists these days have created new technology to allow us to explore other parts of our Earth that can be complicated to study with our bare hands. We’ve studied the seafloor using robotic machines connected to wires, so now, we have the ability to see what goes on underwater! For example, us geologists were able to see mid-ocean ridges AND witnessed evidence of seafloor spreading! Even more RAD! Hmmm, what else…? Oh, RIGHT! Earthquakes. They injure and destroy, but….where do they even come from? Well, you believed that these dangerous disasters occurred at the border of tectonic plates. This claim indicates that these plates are constantly moving! Dude, I had no idea how this could get any more rad than it already was. BUT IT DID! We also developed GPS/GIS data to allow us to study plate movement and rates of change ANNNDDDD volcanoes are caused by hot spots as they pass through those rigid plates that we all know and love. Okay, now I’m just babbling. But can I just say, RAAAAAADDDDD!!
Honestly, I apologize for the backlash you had to endure during your time alive. However, from every scientist, geologist, and human on Earth today, we congratulate and thank you for all your hard work. Enjoy the afterlife!
I know, this letter is PACKED WITH FACTS, but I think that Dr. Heffen-feffer did a good job explaining :)
Not only does the letter prove Wegener's theories, but it also provides evidence for the existence of tectonic plates, so I DESERVE A HIGH FIVE!
Oh, and just to help a little bit more, my science teacher provided us with yet another wonderful video to help us understand more about continental drift and tectonic plates. Everything that I wrote about in my letter, can be put to song as well.
I will never stop singing this ...
*those who judge the title are NO PLATE LOVERS!*
HOLA! My name is Mays and I'm an 8th grader at NOMS. Some topics that I learn about in science class can be found here! :)