Explore BrainMass

Evolution of orogenic belts, climate change

This content was STOLEN from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!

I need help writing an essay on two of the following, but can't decide which. Also - I need detailed explanations in layman's terms, while showing me how to use appropriate scientific language when describing the events -
1. Paleogeography: Changing paleogeography, both globally ("Dance of the Continents") and for North America.
2. Evolution of orogenic belts (mobile belts), their role in changing continental geographies and the plate tectonic actions responsible.
4. Climate: The events and patterns of climate change and their possible explanations especially those that shed light on the modern climate issues.

My essay has to examine the evolution of the features included in the themes, and will relate events and features of your my chosen themes to one another. If you could show me what this would look like in 1-2 pages, that would be great.

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 24, 2018, 10:50 pm ad1c9bdddf

Solution Preview

Actually, these topics are related. Both the location of the continents and the formation of mountains can affect the climate.

Firstly, continents move across the globe through the process of continental drift. Seafloor spreading is the driving force behind plate tectonics, and is how new crust is generated. Divergent plate boundaries are the oceanic ridges where this occurs. This process is slow in terms of human lifetimes, but geologically speaking enough time has passed for the continents to form three super continents, and break apart, in the last 750 million years. The most recent supercontinent, Pangaea, broke apart 205 million years ago when the Atlantic ocean first began to form.

The positions of the continents determines ocean circulation, which is critical to global climate. Scientifically speaking, there is a thermohaline circulation in the water (thermo meaning heat and saline meaning salt). To be less scientific, warm water is less dense, and salt water is more dense than fresh water. Cold water sinks in the North Atlantic and near Antarctica. As it sinks, it draws in the warmer water behind it. This causes a substantially warmer climate on the eastern, relative to the western side of the Atlantic. The thermohaline circulation was initiated by the closing of the Isthmus of Panama 4 million years ago. As the Atlantic surface currents pass through the Trade Wind Belt they become saltier by evaporation. Instead of moving westward into the Pacific Ocean, as it did before, the salty water is now blocked by Panama and flows into the North Atlantic. There it is chilled and becomes quite dense, forming the sinking North Atlantic Deep Water that begins the deep-current conveyor belt. If the surface water were fresher, it would be less dense.

Tectonic plates are the main reason why volcanoes erupt. Most volcanoes occur near the edges of plates; when the plates collide, one plate slides beneath the other. When the moving plates get deep enough in the mantle, some of the rock on the overlying plate ...

Solution Summary

How the location of the continents and the formation of mountains can affect the climate.