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Continental Drift

The effects of continental drift

Effects Of Continental Drift
Plate Tectonics
Types Of Plate Movement
Future Predictions
Interactive Quiz
My References

Continental Drift has affected the world in so many different kinds of ways. Its hard to imagine. Continental Drift has affected the evolution of animals, the worlds geographical positions and the world's climates. There are also many horrendous effects of continental drifts, like Earthquakes and Tsunamis.

Originally all of the world's surface land was located in one region on the globe, Pangea. Then Pangea split apart in the Triassic Period (245 to 208 million years ago) into a southern landmass,Gondwanaland, and the northern landmass Laurasia. By the end of the Cretaceous period, Continents split again into land masses that look like present day continents.


The theory of plate tectonics explain how the earth's crust moves. It was developed in the late 1960's. This theory explains the movement of the Earth's plates (which has since been documented scientifically) and also explains the cause of earthquakes, volcanoes, oceanic trenches, mountain range formation, and other geologic phenomenon. More on this in the Plate Tectonics page.

Effects Of Continental Drift On Climate

Continental drift effects the earths climate mainly because of three factors. Net poleward movement, antarctic cooling and changing ocean currents. For example, the waters around New Zealand's south island cooled from 20 at the beginning of the Eocene about 53 million years ago, to about 17 C during 30-14 Ma BP, then cooling to the present 12 C.

Click here for diagrams explaining this theory.

Effects Of Continental Drift On The Evolution Of Animals

The rearrangement and displacement of huge landmasses has helped create the diversity which we see present in modern day animals. Without these effects, the life present on earth today would have been very different. The earth is filled with so many different types of creatures. We can say, that "Speciation" led to this amazing diversity. Speciation is a phenomenon that normally takes place when a group of animals of the same species find themselves isolated from one another. Isolation can occur geographically by great distances, rising mountains or large bodies of water. They can also occur from biological or behavioral barriers.

One species is distinguished from another by their inability to create viable offspring together, and this is the precise effect that isolation can have on an animal species. Once a group of animals of the same species becomes split apart or isolated,they begin to be changed, molded and fashioned by the hand of natural selection to more properly fit in with their surroundings. After a period of time these two groups begin to be so different anatomically and genetically that soon it becomes impossible for them to procreate. This inability for two animals, that were once the same species, to create viable offspring is called speciation.

The evidence for this theory is provided for you in the evidence section of my website.

Earthquakes and Tsunamis result from Continental Drifts:

Earthquakes and Tsunamis are caused by the movements of the plates. When a Lateral Slipping Plate Movement occurs, the pressure and the force from the collisions of this type of movement causes earthquakes to occur. This is more explained in my Types Of Plate Movement section. This is very important because of the recent Tsunami devastions in south asia. Noone expected those Tsunamis to ever come. That is why it is crucial for scientists to study the effects of continental drifts to figure out ways to discover dangers of locations where these devastions could possibly occur. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost during this epidemic. We have to start figuring out ways to prepare ourselves from these types of disasters. And science is definitely the key to understanding the secrets of earthquakes.

To learn more about the South Asian Tsunamis, CLICK HERE!!!