Science Project:

Exploring the "Breaking Up" of Pangaea

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Introduction

There is a theory that the continents of the Earth have not always been where they are now. This theory is called the continental drift and was developed by a German meteorologist named Alfred Wegener. He claimed that at one time there was only one landmass on Earth which he called Pangea. He hypothesized that over time the continents had broken apart and moved.

Research Questions

  • How could Earth’s continents fit together to form Pangea?
  • What are different theories about how Pangea broke apart?

Terms to Know

  • Plate tectonics
  • Continental drift
  • Pangea
  • Crustal plates

Materials

  • Waxed paper
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of flour

Experimental Procedure

  1. Mix 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and small amount of water in a bowl until it is moist enough to stay in a ball. Knead the dough until it is a smooth consistency.
  2. Using your hands, press the mixture onto waxed paper making sure it is flattened.
  3. Set the dough in the sun for two days, until it dries completely.
  4. After the dough is completely dry, use your hands to “erode” the “crustal plate” by pushing down on the outside edges until it cracks. How does this model how Pangea could have broken apart? Why do you think the plates may now have irregular shapes?

Bibliography

Author: Angela Pike
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