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A Study on the Dominant Driving Force of Plate Movement presented in the High School Earth Science Textbooks
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A Study on the Dominant Driving Force of Plate Movement presented in the High School Earth Science Textbooks
Jeon, Taehwan; Seo, Ki-Weon; Lee, Gyuho;
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In the early model of plate tectonics, the plate was depicted as a passive raft floating on the convecting mantle and carried away by the mantle flow. At the same time, ridge push at spreading boundaries and drag force exerted by the mantle on the base of lithosphere were described as the dominant driving forces of plate movements. However, in recent studies of plate tectonics, it is generally accepted that the primary force driving plate motion is slab pull beneath subduction zones rather than other forces driven by mantle convection. The current view asserts that the density contrast between dense oceanic lithosphere and underlying asthenosphere is the substance of slab pull. The greater density of oceanic slab allows it to sink deeper into mantle at trenches by gravitational pull, which provides a dominant driving force for plate motion. Based on this plate tectonics development, this study investigated the contents of plate tectonics in high school Earth Science textbooks and how they have been depicted for the last few decades. Results showed that the early explanation of plate movement driven by mantle convection has been consistently highlighted in almost all high school textbooks since the 5th curriculum, whereas most introductory college textbooks rectified the early theory of plate movement and introduced a newly accepted theory in revised edition. Therefore, we suggest that the latest theory of plate tectonics be included in high school textbooks so that students get updated with recent understanding of it in a timely manner.
plate movement;slab pull;textbook analysis;
 Cited by
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