What is the Convectional Current Theory?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The Convectional Current Theory was proposed in the 1930s by Arthur Holmes, which discussed the plausibility of convection currents in the mantle area. These currents are formed as a result of radioactive elements affecting the temperature gradient of the mantle. Holmes claimed that these currents run across the entire mantle. It was an attempt to solve the force problem that led current scientists to abandon the concept of continental drift.

Convectional Current Theory

Arthur Holmes suggested the Convectional Current Theory in the 1930s. The current convection idea is at the heart of the seafloor spreading theory. According to this idea, the extreme heat produced by radioactive elements in the mantle, which is located between 100 and 2900 kilometers beneath the planet’s surface, seeks a way to escape and causes convection currents to emerge.

  • Convection currents circulate beneath the solid lithosphere in the liquid asthenosphere.
  • Divergent convective currents separate crustal blocks in opposite directions, forming seas and oceans.
  • Examples include the East African lake system, the Mid-Atlantic Ridges, and others.
  • Convergent convective currents promote crustal zone subsidence, which leads to sea closure and the construction of mountain ranges, island arcs, and other features.


What is the Convectional Current Theory?

Arthur Holmes proposed the Convectional Current Theory in the 1930s, which examined the likelihood of convection currents in the mantle area. Radioactive materials change the temperature gradient in the mantle, causing these currents. A network of these currents, according to Holmes, pervades the entire mantle area.

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