The Mantle Convection Of The Earth

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Impact of Mantle Convection
The Earth has not always looked the same as it does now in modern day. The early Earth was made up of one supercontinent called Pangaea and a large ocean surrounding it. How did the Earth get to be the spread out and in the oddly shaped continents that it is today? The reason that Earth looks the way it does today is due to plate tectonics. Tectonic plates are plates that are located on the lithosphere, the outer layer of the Earth that is made of part of the crust and the upper mantle. Mantle convection is responsible for causing the movement of tectonic plates which leads to the changing of Earth’s surface. To further understand mantle convection one must understand what convection is, why it occurs in the
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Convection is a cycle that does not only take place in the circumstance of mantle convection, but also with other things on Earth like in the atmosphere. In general, convection is the warming of a material that makes it less dense and thus allows it to rise, then the material cools, becomes more dense, and then sinks. This process repeats over and over (Science Daily). The process is the same for mantle convection specifically. Mantle material heats and becomes less dense, rises, cools and becomes more dense, and then sinks back down again until it is warmed and the process repeats (Early Earth and Plate Tectonics Video). This area of repetitive convection is called a convection cell and is one of the reasons why convection occurs in the mantle. A factor that allows convection cells to form is the heat from the core of the Earth that warms the mantle material. The Earth’s core is very hot and gives off energy as heat because some of the energy is left over from the formation of the Earth (Early Earth and Plate Tectonics Video). Also, there is energy being released from the decay of radioactive elements in the Earth’s core that puts out more additional heat (Early Earth and Plate Tectonics Video). Without the heat from the core it would be impossible for mantle convection to occur. Due to the correct balance of heating and cooling of mantle material, mantle convection can occur and …show more content…
Movement that occurs in the mantle directly leads to the movement of tectonic plates (The Early Earth and Plate Tectonics Video). One example of mantle convection causing plate movement was the Hot Chocolate Convection Video. To start, milk was put in a pan on the stove and chocolate powder was sprinkled in a thick layer on top of it. The milk represents the mantle and the chocolate powder represents the crust. Next, the heat was turned on and over time, milk bubbling up representing magma gradually separated the chocolate into “continents”. The cracks represented divergent plate boundaries where the Earth has been pulled apart by mantle convection (Hot Chocolate Convection Video). Overall, this represents the process where mantle convection separates the crust of the Earth, spreads it apart, and then the magma, made of melted rock, fills in the

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