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Greg Young, M.S. Ed.
Table of Contents
Earth and Space Science Readers:
Alfred Wegener: Uncovering Plate Tectonics Early Life................................................................................4

Becoming a Scientist...............................................................6

Credits Puzzle Pieces.........................................................................12

Proving the Theory................................................................16

Editorial Creative
Director Director
Dona Herweck Lee Aucoin
Rice Wegeners Theory Now.........................................................22
Associate Editor Manager
Joshua BishopRoby Timothy J. Bradley
Geophysicist: Mary Lou Zoback...........................................26
Editor-in-Chief Publisher
Sharon Coan, M.S.Ed. Rachelle Cracchiolo,


Contributor Lab: An Eggsample Look Inside Earth..................28
Sally Ride Science
Science Glossary..................................................................30
Nancy McKeown,
Planetary Index.......................................................................31
William B. Rice
Sally Ride Science..................................................32
Image Credits..........................................................32
Teacher Created Materials
5301 Oceanus Drive
Huntington Beach,
CA 92649
ISBN 978-0-7439-0560-2
2007 Teacher Created Materials Publishing

2 3
Early Life
Did You Know?
Greenland is the
worlds largest island.
Most of it is covered
with ice. Sailors from
discovered it in A.D.
982. People, called the
Inuit, had lived there
centuries before.

Alfred Wegener was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1880. When he field. That is the highest degree a
His father, Richard, was a minister who ran an orphanage. grew up, he person can earn.
His mother, Anna, took care of the home and family. studied
astronomy. He
When he was a boy, Wegener hoped to explore Greenland
even got his
one day. He hiked, skated, and walked to build his strength. He
Ph.D. in this
wanted to be strong enough to explore! When he walked, he
pretended he was on a great expedition. He always knew that
one day he would be an explorer.
He found, That is the science of weather. This
however, that brought him closer
astronomy was to two other interests. He wanted to
not earthy explore Greenland. And he wanted
enough for him. to experiment with hot air balloon
He still wanted flight.
to explore. He
wanted to know
more about the
earth. So he
began to study
Greenland is beautiful, but it is challenging to explore. meteorology.
4 5
Becoming a Scientist
Wegener had a brother named Kurt. They experimented
with kites and hot air balloons. The two brothers were in a
History of Hot Air
balloon contest in 1906. They set a world record. They flew for Balloons
52 hours!
In 1783, two brothers sent a
That same year, Alfred made his first trip to Greenland. He duck, a sheep, and a chicken up in a
was invited because of his balloon flight. He went as the official hot air balloon. It was a short flight.
meteorologist for the trip. He used kites and balloons to study It lasted only a few minutes, but it
the weather. Meteorology seemed to be his calling. was long enough to begin an exciting
new sport. That sport was hot air
Wegener had another dream. He wanted to teach a t
a college. This dream also came true. A university in
Germany hired Wegener. He taught meteorology there. The brothers used burning
straw and manure. This gave the
Wegener became well known for his work. He
balloon enough heat to rise. Today,
was well liked by the students and other teachers.
hot air balloons use propane gas.
They thought he was full of great ideas.
It was here that he came up with his most famous
idea. He called it continental drift. It led to the study
of plate tectonics. It is a
theory about how
the land and seas on

Hot air
balloons were
once a popular
Earth are
formed and
Wegeners big work in
this area was to come
e Did You Know?
Hot air balloons dont have
change. later.
engines or motors. They dont
need electricity. Th work because
of basic science. Warmer rises in
cooler air. So, warm air is push
into the balloon. This thermometers to kites.
causes the balloon They wanted to record the
to rise. Then the air
cools. The pilot fires
Kite air temperature at high
altitudes. This was the
up the burner. Hot air
replaces the cool air Science first time someone used
kites to get scientific
again. In the 1700s, information.
And the balloon stays two scientists
afloat. tied

6 77
Wegener enjoyed teaching. He wrote a book based on Germany.
his exciting lectures about the movement of the earth. Many The institute
does polar
colleges used his book. He had done many things in his young
and marine
life that were interesting to read about. He had many good research. It
ideas, too. He was only 30 years old! is carrying
He didnt stop exploring, either. In 1912, he went back to Wegeners
Greenland for more exploring. He went on the longest crossing work in
of the ice cap ever made by foot. It was a very dangerous trip. geology,
or Earth
He and three other explorers almost died! A glacier they science. It
were climbing came loose. They had to spend the entire winter conducts
on the ice cap. Wegener used this time to collect information. research in
He learned about storms over the Arctic. He became an expert the Arctic.
It gives
on Arctic meteorology. assistance
for polar
travels in
helped him
of the
ble Arctic

Fun Fact
There is an Alfred
Wegener Institute in
loved research. She made maps of the
floor. The maps were of segments of the
ocean. Her partners gathered data from boats.
She pieced the maps together. Thats when
she noticed the mountains did not match up.
There was a gap down the center. It had peaks
on each side. She thought it might be a rift
valley. That idea was similar to Wegeners
ie Tharp (1920-2006) continental drift idea. Her partners thought it
Marie Tharp studied geology in the 1940s. World was not possible. Soon, though, Tharps ideas
War II was going on. Many men were sent to war. were confirmed. They published the map in
Because of this, women had new opportunities. The 1977.
Tharp and her partners received the
University of Michigan allowed women to enter the
geology department. She graduated with honors. She
Hubbard Award in 1978 for their work.
8 9
challenge the theory. Theories do not grow When Wegener returned from
up to become facts. Facts are what we
Greenland, he married Else Koppen.
observe in nature. Theories describe how
the facts work. She was the daughter of a well-known
They are accepted until a better description meteorologist. They had met five years
can be made. earlier. When he went to Greenland,
Koppen moved to Norway. She wanted to
be closer to him. Wegener and his wife
had three daughters.
Wegener served in World War I. He
was injured two times! He was released
from combat duty. He then worked with the
Army weather-forecasting service.
Later, he took a job that had
Else Koppen
belonged to his father-in-law. He became
the director of a meteorological research
He did experiments there. He recreated
lunar craters. He did this by throwing
Scientific objects at different substances on the
Theories ground. He showed that craters were likely
A scientific idea is the results of something hitting them. He
called a theory. wrote papers about these experiments. He
Theories take time to
became quite well known for these papers.
develop. They need a
great deal of lunar craters
evidence before
they are accepted or
rejected. And even if
they are accepted, a
theory is always open
to debate. More
evidence might
why fossils of marine animals can
be found atop Mt. Everest? Does
working outdoors sound fun?
Would you like to see the world? If
Geologists Rock! so, geology might be the career for
Would you like to learn how to you. Geologists study the forces
predict earthquakes? Do you want that shape the earth. They study
to know how to predict volcanic their effects
eruptions? How about explaining on mankind. They search for oil,
water, and gas. They try to predict
earthquakes and tsunamis.
10 11

Puzzle Pieces
Chi In his studies, Wegener noticed Wegener noticed something else How Many
something about the earth. His while he was reading a book in the Continents? In the
Giant library. The book included lists of United States,
Panda discovery would one day change the students are taught
world of science. similar plant and animal fossils that that there are seven
were found on opposite sides of the continents (Africa,
Wegener saw that the coastlines of ocean. How could this be? Antarctica, Asia,
South America and Africa fit together. Australia, Europe,
He started looking for more North America, and
He saw this while looking at a map. It South America). In
looked like a puzzle. cases like this. He wanted to see if
other parts of the world,
Syr the oceans separated other living students learn that
ian He noticed that many of Earths things that are similar. If so, the there are only six.
Bro continents looked this way. They pieces of the puzzle just might be Sometimes North and
wn seemed like giant jigsaw puzzle pieces South America are
much more than coincidence. combined and called
that could fit together. Others also the Americas. Some
noticed this pattern, but they thought it schools combine
was a coincidence. Wegener thought it Europe and Asia. They
Polar call it Eurasia. There is
Bear was something more. no good definition of
what a continent
i . That is why there is so much
s disagreement.

thought that
North all of Earths
Ameri continents
can might have
Black once fit
Bear together.

Brown Bears are found
Bear on many
around the

12 13
Wegener thought that
fossils found in some areas
could not have survived the
climate there. Remember,
he was a meteorologist. He
knew all about climates. He
thought some fossils found
in Antarctica could never
have survived the cold. He Moving the Coal
figured they must have PERMIAN PERIOD TRIASSIC PERIOD Miners gather coal in
come from a place closer to 225 MILLION YEARS 200 MILLION YEARS AGO Pennsylvania. How did
the coal get there? It
the equator.
was formed from
Almost 100 years ago, tropical plants that
lived near the equator
Wegener said all of Earths
many years ago. The
continents used to be land that is now
connected. He called this Pennsylvania was once
single landmass Pangea. It at the equator!
means all the earth.
He was not the first person
to suggest this. But he was
the first to try to prove it. He

used different sciences. Today, this scientific theory

is called plate tectonics. It is widely accepted. Back
in Wegeners day, geologists did not believe him.
Even his father-in-law did not believe him. He was
upset that Wegener had strayed from meteorology.
He didnt want Wegener to be working in a new and
unknown science.


14 15
Proving the Theory
Wegener also looked at South America
and Africa. He found evidence that
the rocks of the eastern coast of South
America matched the rocks of western
Africa. This was good proof that Pangea
had really existed.
So why did other geologists not believe
his theory? Wegener did not have a good
explanation for how the continents moved.
He figured that the continents moved
through the ocean floor. He thought it was
like ships going through sheets of ice. He
had seen ships do this in the icy waters of
the Arctic Ocean.

Wegener spent a great deal of time trying to solve the mystery of Pangea.

Wegener used
fossils like these to
Wegener needed evidence to prove his theory. He looked try to prove his
at the United States and Europe. He found similar plant and theory.
animal fossils in both places. They were on the eastern coast of
the United States and the western coast of Europe. He figured
that if the same fossils were in both places, then maybe those
continents had been together at one time. He thought this
happened about 300 million years ago. Special Delivery
Wegener has appeared on many postage
stamps. This stamp is from Austria.

16 17

anet Sumner

Today we use plate tectonics, or the
ovement of Earths plates, to explain
QMBUF arthquakes and volcanoes. This has pened
whole new areas of science to


QMBUF tudy. For example, today there are
cientists who are volcanologists. They tudy
volcanoes. Janet Sumner is one of hose

Sumner likes adventure. She enjoys
xtreme sports. She skydives and goes
cuba diving. And she spends a lot of
This map shows Earths tectonic plates and the time on active volcanoes. Good thing
direction each is moving. shes an adventurer!
Sumner is especially interested in
Wegener thought two forces caused the movement. The first was the volcanic fire-fountain eruptions. Lava
spinning motion of Earth. The second was the pull on Earth by the moon from these fountains is very dangerous. It
and the suns gravity. Most geologists thought that these forces were not is fast flowing and can travel far
strong enough to move the continents. They believed that the ocean floor distances. She has also found that syrup
was too thick and strong. They thought Wegeners theory about how the and candle wax behave a lot like magma.
continents move was wrong. His ideas were rejected. Using these liquids, she found how clots
of magma produce lava.
Wegener made good points about the similar geological features,
puzzle-piece shapes, and similar fossils. Many geologists had another Wegener didnt know that plate
explanation for these points. Their explanation was land bridges. It was tectonics cause volcanoes. But his work
thought that land bridges connected the continents at one time. These has been a big help to scientists like
land bridges were now sunk beneath the ocean. There had been some Sumner.
land bridges, but today we know that there werent enough to explain all
of Wegeners data.
18 19


Jet Stream
The jet stream is like a river of wind in the
atmosphere. It is about 6,000 to 9,000 meters
(20,000 to 30,000 feet) above Earths surface.
The jet stream helps move storms around the
earth. It also helps to push jet aircraft. In the
Northern Hemisphere, the jet stream travels
from the west to the east. A plane flying
from California to New York will be pushed
more quickly to its destination than a plane
traveling in the opposite direction. One
flying from New York to California will be
Some scientists supported Wegener. One geologist thought Wegener slowed down by the jet stream.
Wegeners ideas explained the similarities between Africa and during a
South America. Another geologist believed that Wegeners trip to Jet streams are usually located in the
Greenland northern regions of the earth. Thats why
ideas explained his own observations in the Swiss Alps.
Wegener was studying them in Greenland.
Wegener didnt live to see geologists accept his theories. During very cold weather, they can travel
He was finally offered a full professorship to teach meteorology. south. They bring storms across southern
A few years later, he went to Greenland again. The trip areas.
was his fourth, and his last. He went there to study the jet polar jet
stream. H stream
While there, he celebrated his
Thefiftieth birthday. He died after
bringing supplies to a scientific station.
e was returning to his base camp.

Island or square kilometers (836,330 harsh winter weather was

Continent? square miles). In fact, most likely to blame.
Greenland is an Greenland is the largest
island, and a very landmass to be called an island
a rather than a continent.
large one at that. Its
area is 2,166,086 ye
Wegeners wife, Else,
was deeply saddened by his
death. She wrote
a book in memory of her
husband nd his work. She
lived to be 100 ars old. polar jet stream
She died in 1992.

Wegeners Theory Now

Today, Wegener is recognized for many things. He was a
Harry Hess (1906-1969)
record-holding balloonist. He used weather balloons to track Harry Hess taught geology. He
air masses. He wrote textbooks that were widely used elped start the study of plate tectonics.
throughout Europe. He gave the start to modern theories e believed much of what Wegener had
about rainfall. Craters on both Mars and the moon are roposed. He didnt agree with Wegener
named for him. There has even been an asteroid named after bout how the earth moved, though.
him! Hess was in the U.S. Navy during
Wegener is best remembered as an early developer of the World War II. He was able to do research
theory of plate tectonics. It took years for others to catch on, while at sea. He surveyed the Pacific
though. During his lifetime, Wegener didnt have the evidence cean while moving from one battle to the
Oext. He outlined how seafloor spreading
he needed. He couldnt prove to geologists that Pangea
did exist. He couldnt prove that the continents move. The nworks. He said magma oozes up. It forms
technology was not available. a new seafloor. The old and new floors
then move away from each other. It is a
very slow process.
Unlike Wegener, Hess was able to see
his work accepted during his lifetime.

Since Wegeners
time, other
scientists have
used his work to
come closer to a
understanding of
plate tectonics. 21
22 23
Now we know that It was not until the mid-1900s that scientists finally found
Earth is actually made up enough evidence to show how the continents move. This is the
of 15 plates. The plates evidence that Wegener needed.
are part of Earths crust.
Some of the plates make He didnt live long enough to find it for himself. That is the
the continents. Some nature of science. The work of one scientist builds upon another.
make the ocean floors. In the future, scientists are sure to learn more and more about the
These plates ride around work that Wegener started.
on top of Earths mantle.

Alfred Wegener a lava cascade

24 25
Geophysicist: Mary Lou Zoback
Western Earthquake Hazards Team (USGS)
Being There
If you were a geophysicist,
Shake, Rattle, and Roll
Mary Lou Zoback is
inreally to her job. She even
ork to the movies. Sometimes
she sees mistakes in movies.
They are called bloopers. In
one movie she noticed a big
blooper. The mountains were
in the wrong place!
Zoback became interested in
geophysics in college. During that
time, many discoveries were being
made. Scientists were learning more
w Earths surface moves. This
Zoback movement causes earthquakes.
favorite Zobacks goal is to predict earthquakes.
subject How? She starts by using instruments that
in school
measure how much the ground shakes during an
math. earthquake.
And she uses information from satellites. The
satellites can measure Earths surface from space.
Her favorite parts of her work are the surprises.
Often you look for one thing and something else Did You Know?
completely different will jump out at you, she tells Every day there are
Sally Ride Science. Thats the fun part of thousands of small
earthqua you would use physics to study Earth
kes and how it changes.
around You might . . .
Experts Tell Is It 4 U?
the find underground water.
Us . . . How do you like
climb volcanoes. If you get first-hand surprises?
experience with Do you like it when
investigate where mountains came science, I think youre looking for
from. youd get hooked. one thing and find
something different?

Seismometers such as this can measure waves of energy.

26 27
Lab: An Eggsample Look Inside Earth 2
Geologists dig deep to get an idea of what Earth looks
like inside. Unfortunately, they cannot dig all the way to the 2 Hold the egg in one hand and insert the
straw into the top of the egg with your
core. However, geologists can use earthquakes to help them other
hand. Slowly but firmly, press the straw
see inside Earth. When an earthquake happens, it sends
through the center of the egg and out
shock waves through the planet. Earthquake waves travel
the other side.
differently when they pass through liquids and solids. A
geologist can 3 When the straw exits the other side of the egg,
tell if it was solid or liquid material the waves passed you will see parts of the egg in the straw. This
is your core sample. As you continue to push,
through when they receive earthquake data. By recording a
you will see a part of the straw that doesnt
number of earthquakes, geologists have a pretty good idea of
have any egg in it. Cut the straw at this point. 4
what our Earth looks like inside. A core sample would be
more accurate, but is not possible today. To get an idea of a 4 Pull the remaining part of the straw out of
core sample, try this experiment. You will drill core samples your egg. You can dig another core sample
from a different location on your egg with the
from an egg to see what it looks like inside.
rest of the straw. Try entering the egg from a
different angle.

5 Again, when the straw exits the egg, cut it

off when you no longer see any core sample
Materials inside of it.
hard-boiled egg
6 Use your scissors to cut open your straw 6
clear plastic pieces. Examine your core samples.
straw 7 Draw a picture of what you think your egg
looks like inside, based on your core
plastic knife 8

1 Crack and peel the shell off of the hard-boiled egg. When you have drawn your picture, slice the
egg open with the plastic knife to see how
close your drawing is to the actual egg.
28 29

Glossary Index
land bridges, 18

astronomythe scientific study of the lavamolten rock that reaches the Africa, 1213, 1617, 20
universe beyond Earth earths surface
Alfred Wegener Institute, 8
coincidenceremarkable series of magmamolten rock in the America, 13
events or occurrences which seem to earths crust
Antarctica, 1415
have no connection mantlelayer of earth below the crust Arctic, 89
continenta single large area of land meteorologythe scientific study of Arctic meteorology, 8
continental driftthe theory that processes in the earths atmosphere that Arctic Ocean, 17
continents shift positions on the cause weather conditions Asia, 13
earths surface, moving across the Pangeasingle landmass made of asteroid, 22
surface rather than being fixed, all of todays continents; means all astronomy, 4
stationary land masses the earth
Austria, 17
Earth sciencethe scientific study of plate tectonicsthe theory that the Berlin, 4
the structure, age, etc. of the earth earths crust is made of rigid plates that California, 21
equatoran imaginary line drawn move about on the earths surface
continental drift, 6, 89, 1225
around the middle of the earth at an rift valleya valley that has continents, 1220, 2225
equal distance from the two poles been formed along a rift
Earth science, 8
evidencean available body of facts seafloor spreadingthe process by earthquakes, 11, 19, 2628
or information that supports a theory which new oceanic crust is formed by
equator, 1415
expeditionan organized journey for the convective upwelling of magma
at mid-ocean ridges Europe, 13, 16, 22
a particular purpose
evidence, 10, 1617, 2225
geologista scientist who studies the theorya system of ideas intended to
explain observations expedition, 45, 8
earths structure, substance, and
fossils, 11, 1418
history volcanologista scientist who studies
volcanoes geologist, 11, 1423, 28
geologythe study of rocks and geology, 811, 2223
other substances that make up the
earths surface and interior Germany, 4, 69
glacier, 8
glacierlarge mass of ice and snow
that slowly moves over land Greenland, 46, 8, 1011, 20
Hess, Harry, 23
hot air balloon, 57
jet stream, 2021
Koppen, Else, 10, 20
moon, 18, 22 plate tectonics, 6, 1419, 2225 United States, 13, 16
Mt. Everest, 11 seafloor spreading, 23 University of Michigan, 9
Navy, 23 South America, 1213, 20 volcanoes, 19, 2627
New York, 21 stamps, 17 volcanologist, 19
lava, 19
North America, 13 Sumner, Janet, 19 Wegener, Anna, 4
magma, 19, 23
Pacific Ocean, 23 Swiss Alps, 20 Wegener, Kurt, 6
Mars, 22
Pangea, 1418, 22 Tharp, Marie, 9 Wegener, Richard, 4
meteorology, 58, 10, 14, 2021
Pennsylvania, 15 theory, 6, 10 Zoback, Mary Lou, 2627
molten magma, 2425

30 31
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Cover: The Granger Collection, New York; p.3 Alfred Wegener Institute; p.4 (top) Alfred
Wegener Institute; p.4 (left) Imagno/Getty Images; p.45 Tyler Olson/Shutterstock; p.5
(left) Alfred Wegener Institute; p.5 (right) Paul Laragy/Shutterstock; p.6 (top) Ralph
Biggr/Shutterstock; p.67 Jean Becker/Sygma/ CORBIS; p.7 (top) Topical Press

m Agency/Getty Images; p.7 (bottom) Library of Congress; p.8 (left) Mary Evans Picture
Library/Alamy; p.89 Bildarchiv Monheim GmbH/Alamy; p.9 (left) Bruce Gilbert/Columbia
University; p.9 (right) Public Domain; p.10 (top) Rick Reason; p.10 (bottom) Diego

a Barucco/ Shutterstock; p.11 Jason Bodine; p.11 (background) Kavram/Shutterstock; p.12

(top to bottom) Regien Paassen/Shutterstock; Shootov Igor/Shutterstock; Jens
Stolt/Shutterstock; Susan Kehoe/Shutterstock; Shona Charlton/Shutterstock; p.1213 Tim

g Bradley; p.13 Wojciech PLONKA/Shutterstock; p.1415 Tim Bradley;

p.15 (top) Graham S. Klotz/Shutterstock; p.15 (bottom) Andre Nantel/Shutterstock; p.16
(top) USGS; p.16 (bottom) The Granger Collection, New York; p.17 (left) The Granger

e Collection, New York; p.17 (top to bottom) Alexey Kryuchkov/Shutterstock; Paul

Maguire/Shutterstock; Falk Kienas/Shutterstock; p.18 Tim Bradley; p.19 Courtesy of Janet
Summer; p.19 (background) Hoa-Qui/Photo Researchers, Inc; p.2021 The Granger
Collection, New York; p.21 Tim Bradley; p.22 (top) Michael Schofield/Shutterstock; p.22
(left) SPL/Photo Researchers, Inc.; p.23 Princeton University Archives; p.23 (background)

C Schofield/Shutterstock; p.2425 Ashok Rodrigues/iStockphoto; p.26 Courtesy of Megan

Lacey Zoback; p.27 (left) Lockhaven University of Pennsylvania; p.27 (right) Tim Bradley;
p.28 (top) J.D. Griggs, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey; p.2829

r Nicoll Rager Fuller


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