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A Science Odyssey Mountain Maker, Earth Shaker

egg with cracked shell Go directly to Plate Tectonics activity
(114K - requires Shockwave) Take a hard-boiled egg and crack its shell. Does the egg remind you of anything? The Earth, perhaps? The egg could be seen as a tiny model of the Earth. The thin shell represents the Earth's crust, divided into plates; within the shell is the firm but slippery mantle. Move the pieces of shell around. Notice how the shell buckles in some places and exposes "mantle" in other places. The same thing happens on Earth, but on Earth, this activity results in the formation of mountains, earthquakes, and new ocean floor.

Even though the theory of continental drift was proposed in 1912 by Alfred Wegener, the idea of moving continents wasn't generally accepted until the early 1960s. That's when Wegener's theory was resurrected by Harry Hess, Robert Dietz, Fred Vine, and Drummond Matthews. The ensuing theory, known as plate tectonics, has had a major impact on Earth Sciences. It represents a scientific revolution as significant to geology as relativity was to physics.

This activity lets you manipulate tectonic plates. Pull the plates apart and push them together and watch what happens to the Earth.


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