Challenge Team Abstract

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    Team Number: 069

    School Name: Ruidoso High School

    Area of Science: Geography

    Project Title: "Return to Gondowana Land"

Final Report

Do you remember Gondwanaland? The landmass that was made up of the three large landmasses we now know as Africa, South America, and Australia. Why did these continents drift apart? Was it because of a large meteor or was it Continental Drift? We may never know the answer to these questions but what if we were able to calculate the continental drift of any landmass? What if you were able to know about a hige continental colission before it happened? Our team will devise a program that will calculate the continental drift.

Continental Drift is the hypothetical tendency or ability that the continents are drifting slowly away from each other. The first detailed and comprehensive theory of continental drift was propsed in 1912 by Alfred Wegener, a German Meteorologist. Wegener postulated that throughout most of time there was only one continent. In 1937 Alexander L. Du Toit, a South African Geologist, modified Wegener's hypothesis by saying that there are two primordial continents.

Our team plans to write a program that will calculate continental drift using current cooridates and rates. To do this, the current position, speed, and direction will have to be mapped into a series of vectors and then added to the user-inputed vector to accomplish computerized continental drift. Although the math is quite a bit more complicated since we have to do some spherical geometry but we can do it.

Calculating continental drift will pose a challenging feat of high school level programming. Continental drift may not be as important to the world as the world stock market but sometime in the distant future, it may come in handy.

Team Members

Sponsoring Teachers

Project Advisor(s)