# Why are tectonic plates like a jigsaw puzzle?

November 2, 2022

The earth is divided into several layers. The surface layer we live on is called the crust, which sits on top of a lower layer called the mantle. Together, the crust and the upper part of the mantle form the Earth’s tectonic plates, which fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

## Why is Earth’s surface compared to a jigsaw puzzle?

Out of around 50 plates, only seven make up 94 percent of the area. The largest, the African and Pacific plates, are antipodal, meaning they are on opposite sides of the Earth. But about 100 million years ago the tectonic plates tiled the planet as evenly as a real jigsaw puzzle.

## Why does Earth’s land masses look like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle?

They cited as evidence fossils of identical animals that lived simultaneously in both areas hundreds of millions of years ago. The Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America seem to fit together seamlessly, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

## Is the Earth’s surface a jigsaw puzzle?

The crust and upper part of the mantle is called the lithosphere. It’s more like a jigsaw puzzle and is made up of large pieces called tectonic plates.

## What is the jigsaw theory?

The puzzle technique is a method of organizing classroom activities that makes students dependent on each other for success. It divides the classes into groups, each assembling a piece of a task and summarizing their work when finished.

## In what way do the continents resemble the pieces of a puzzle explain?

The continents can be put together like a puzzle. Rock records show coincident strata, mountain ranges, and ancient bedrocks in continents that were once together. Glacial streaks (scratches) and boulders (rocks that have been moved away from the original bedrock by glacial ice) correspond between continents.

## What do we called the giant pieces of jigsaw puzzle which move on top of the molten rock inside the Earth?

The sections are called tectonic plates and continents are part of these large plates. The tectonic plates float on top of the molten rock and move around the planet.

## What force that causes the plates to move?

Forces driving plate tectonics include: Convection in the Earth’s mantle (heat driven) Edge thrust (gravity at the spreading ridges) Plate pull (gravity force in subduction zones)

## Do continents fit like a puzzle?

South America’s east coast and Africa’s west coast seem to fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and Wegener found that their strata “fit” just as much. South America and Africa weren’t the only continents with similar geology.

## What is the Earth like below the surface?

Deep in the center of the planet is the “inner core,” which we believe is made of solid iron and nickel. This is surrounded by the “outer core”, which is also made of iron and nickel but is molten. Convection currents in the outer core create the Earth’s magnetic field.

## Is there water under the Earth?

Scientists have long speculated that water is trapped in a rocky layer of Earth’s mantle, located between the lower and upper mantle at depths of between 250 miles and 410 miles.

## Why do you think the present shapes of the continents doesn’t fit perfectly into a supercontinent?

Over time, the geological forces that brought the continents together eventually caused them to drift apart.

## How did the continents all fit together?

About 200 million years ago, all of Earth’s continents were actually one giant “supercontinent” surrounded by a vast ocean. This gigantic continent called Pangea slowly broke apart and expanded to form the continents we know today. All the continents of the earth were once united in one supercontinent, Pangea.

## What are two pieces of evidence that scientists used to confirm the theory of plate tectonics?

There is a wealth of evidence supporting claims that plate tectonics is responsible for (1) the distribution of fossils across different continents, (2) the occurrence of earthquakes, and (3) continental and ocean events is responsible for bottom features such as mountains, volcanoes, faults, and grabens.

## What is the Earth’s surface called?

The solid part of the earth’s surface called the lithosphere.

## How do we know that there is movement under the land surface?

The knowledge of the continuous movement of the earth is based on the work of scientists studying the movement of the continents. This process is called “plate tectonics”. Earthquakes and volcanic activity are the result of this process.

## How can gaps in the jigsaw fit of continents be explained?

Any areas where there are gaps or overlaps can be explained by: Coastal erosion since continental separation. Coastal deposition since continental separation. Sea level rise (eustatic change) since continental separation.

### References:

1. https://www.nsf.gov/news/classroom/images/PlateTect.pdf
2. https://www.science.org/content/article/how-earth-became-jigsaw-puzzle
3. https://www.nbcnews.com/sciencemain/jigsaw-puzzle-tectonic-plate-patterns-detailed-6c10902052
4. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/Wegener/wegener_2.php
5. https://www.eastcoastlab.org.nz/discover/learn/earths-surface/
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jigsaw_(teaching_technique)
7. https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/952-continental-drift
8. https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/educators/resource/pangea-puzzle/
9. https://www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/animation/what_are_the_forces_that_drive_plate_tectonics
10. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/continental-drift/
11. https://www.science.org.au/curious/earth-environment/earths-mantle-whats-going-deep-beneath-our-feet
12. https://www.bnl.gov/newsroom/news.php?a=111648
13. https://homework.study.com/explanation/why-don-t-the-present-shapes-of-the-continents-fit-perfectly-into-a-supercontinent.html
14. https://www.amnh.org/explore/ology/earth/power-of-plate-tectonics/pangaea
15. https://clarkscience8.weebly.com/evidence-for-plate-tectonics.html
16. https://byjus.com/questions/what-is-the-solid-portion-of-the-earths-surface-called/
17. https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/earths-continents-and-ocean-floors-are-always-moving/1886773.html