Seafloor Spreading and Continental Drift

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  • At the bottom of the ocean (seafloor), there are rocks with magnetized minerals. These rocks help show scientists what type of polarity - state in which magnetized objects orient themselves in - we have.
  • Here is an overview of seafloor spreading:
  • The blue represents normal polarity and the red represents reversed polarity. There isn't a specific time that it takes the polarity to switch, so it's different every time. 
  • Our discovery of reversed and normal polarity helped us learn about seafloor spreading.
  • During seafloor spreading, new oceanic crust erupts from the mid-ocean ridge. This pushes the old oceanic crust outwards. 
  • Older Oceanic Crust
  • Newer Oceanic Crust
  • Mid-Ocean Ridge
  • As the oceanic crust moves during seafloor spreading, the continents move along with it. This is what we know as continental drift. The theory is that all continents were connected long ago, making one giant continent named Pangaea. Due to seafloor spreading, the continents drifted apart, and are where they are at today. If you take a look at the continents, they each look like pieces of a puzzle. 
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