Tectonic Plates and Continental Drift

Tectonic Plates and Continental Drift

One of the interesting designs of planet Earth is the fluid nature of the crust and interior of the planet. Looking at a global map suggests that North and South America must have been connected to Europe and Africa in the past. As technology has improved, we have been able to see the connections and identify and measure the slowly moving tectonic plates and continental drift. This movement gives rise to surface features that affect human life and bring resources to supply the needs of all living things.

In 2005, geologists tracked 163 earthquakes as a 35-mile-long chasm opened in Ethiopia’s Afar Desert, where a volcanic eruption occurred. In 2018, a giant fissure 50 feet deep and 65 feet wide opened west of Nairobi, Kenya. These changes are surface expressions of movement in the mantle of magma inside the planet. The movement of tectonic plates happens very slowly, but even at a rate of less than an inch a year, scientists can measure it.

Tectonic plates and continental drift formed the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Along the edges of the various plates, material from the surface sinks back into Earth’s interior, while volcanos bring new materials to the surface, creating a colossal recycling system. Planet Earth is active, continuously producing new land with fresh minerals.

Because this process is so slow, its impact on human existence is minimal. However, people continue to build large cities along the fault lines. In California, we have the making of a colossal disaster as cities like Los Angeles straddle a geologically active region. The warnings are there, but they go unheeded.

Understanding the design of our planet with tectonic plates and continental drift should enable us to avoid geologic catastrophes and locate the mineral resources we need. Proverbs 8:22-26 finds “Wisdom” speaking about her presence at the beginning of God’s creation work. We see God’s wisdom and patience as we look at our planet’s design.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

References: Wikipedia “Afar Triangle,” “Afar Triple Junction,” and “Great Rift Valley, Kenya