geology writing assignment

Essay Questions (100 points total).

Note the attached PDF of this assignment…

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1. Explain thoroughly how it took 55 years (from 1915 until 1970) for the hypothesis of Continental Drift to develop into the theory of Plate Tectonics. Your answer should be no less than 500 words. (50 points)

READ THIS! – In other words, use the theory of Plate Tectonics to show how the Scientific Method was used to “flesh out” the hypothesis of Continental Drift put forth by Wegener, by adding new data provided by new technology and people until general buy-in was obtained in 1970, when the term “Plate Tectonics” was coined. (Chapter 1, especially 1.3, The Nature of Scientific Inquiry; and Chapter 2, especially 2.1 through 2.3, and 2.9, “Testing the Plate Tectonics Model”). Do not spend time discussing what came before 1915! Wegener did a great job of laying out the evidence he had available at the time. After your introductory paragraph, I do not expect to see the name “Wegener” again.

Be sure to explain:

  • WHO were the key players?
  • WHAT were the key observations and conclusions?
  • WHERE were the observations made?
  • WHEN were the key discoveries made?
  • HOW were these discoveries accomplished, including fields of study, equipment, etc.?

2. Use plate tectonic theory to explain the origin of Mount St. Helens (and by extension, the Cascades and all Andean-type mountains). Your answer should be no less than 500 words. (50 points)

In your answer, include a discussion of:

  • the plate tectonic process involved
  • the origin of the magma and rocks
  • the composition of the magma and rocks
  • the type of eruptions that occur there
  • other geologic features associated with Andean-type mountains.