Continents move because of plate tectonics, or the notion that the earth’s crust is broken up into ever-changing and ever-moving plates that sit on top of a molten liquid called the mantle. These plates formed when the earth cooled, about 5 billion years ago. This could be the point at which you could consider that the plates “started to drift.” The mechanism that drives the movement, is convection; As heat from the earth’s core rises, it creates currents just like the surface of a boiling pot of soup. The earth’s plates are constantly in a state of change, disappearing and forming, colliding and separating. It’s in this force of change, that continents rise up and stick out from the ocean, or disappear and sink below the crust where they melt and become apart of the geological cycle all over again.
The mantle is not liquid, and the plates do not float upon it.
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