April 27th, 2016

Doc Tectonic (sepia)

ELI5: Plate Tectonics

A friend from college posted this request to our mailing list, and since I liked the answer I came up with, I thought I'd share.

So I was having my typically night-time barrage of questions from my 5 year old when the conversation turned to the earthquake drills she has at school. She didn't know what an earthquake was and so I tried to explain plate tectonics to her in an age-appropriate fashion.

After a bunch of good questions like "why aren't there earthquakes all the time if the plates are pushing against each other?" She asked me how we knew that there this pushing was what caused earthquakes if it happened deep in the earth. I said that I don't know how scientists figured this out and she said "can you ask them?" And I promised I would.

So any course 12s out there want to give me an ELI5 [Explain Like I'm 5] for a literal 5 year old on how we know plate tectonics is true? (I could Google it, but I promised her I'd talk to actual scientists).


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Don't ever say I never taught ya nothin'.