Plate Tectonics - Why and How the Plates Move

Arthur Holmes suggested that this thermal convection was like a conveyor belt and that the upwelling pressure could break apart a continent and then force the broken continent in opposite directions carried by the convection currents. This idea received very little attention at the time. Not until the 1960's did Holmes' idea receive any attention.
Greater understanding of the ocean floor and the discoveries of features like mid-oceanic ridges, geomagnetic anomalies parallel to the mid-oceanic ridges, and the association of island arcs and oceanic trenches occurring together and near the continental margins, suggested convection might indeed be at work.
These discoveries and more led Harry Hess (1962) and R.Deitz (1961) to publish similar hypotheses based on mantle convection currents, now known as "sea floor spreading". This idea was basically the same as that proposed by Holmes over 30 years earlier, but now there was much more evidence to further develop and support the idea.


Brooklyn College - Geology Department