Experiment: Shifting Plates
Purpose: To demonstrate continental drift.
2 cups of dirt (0.5 liter)
1 quart bowl (1 liter)
Pour 2 cups of dirt into the bowl.
Add water and stir with the spoon until you have thick mud.
Pour the mud onto the cookie sheet.
Leave the pan of mud in the sun for 2 to 3 days.
Push down around the sides of the dried mud.
The surface of the dried mud should crack.
The mud has been broken into little pieces with jagged edges that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Notice that the earth’s continents also fit together much like the pieces of a puzzle. The little pieces of mud, if taken to represent the continents, broke apart due to the pressure you exerted on it. About 200 million years ago, pressures within the earth may have broken a single large land mass into the pieces that we know as the continents today.