Alfred Wegener(1880-1930) was the first man to propose the theory gplate tectonics.h He had got a Ph.D in astronomy from the University of Berlin, but he was also interested in the other science field such as geophysics, meteorology, and climatology. He also contributed to meteorology by establishing to track air circulation using balloon. In 1911, he read a paper that listed identical fossils of plants and animals found on opposite side of the Atlantic, and he looked for more of such organisms. At his time, such cases were explained by postulating land bridges which do not exist now. However, Wegener found that coastlines of South America and Africa match closely. As evidences he suggested the similarity of large-scale geological features on separate lands, such as Appalachian Mountains of North America and Scottish Highlands. He also suggested that indicated climate of the place fossils were found often differs from the climate of today. Those evidences lead him to publish Wegenerfs theory of gcontinental drafth in 1915. In the book The Origin of Continents and Oceans, he wrote about 300 million years ago, continents were a single mass, Pangaea, which had split and lifted, and the pieces had been moving since then. However, his theory was lack of explanation of how the continents move. He explained it that it was through the earthfs crust and centrifugal and tidal forces that move the pieces. But as opponents said, it was a mistake. On the other hand, there were supporters of the theory. One of the supporters, geologist Alexander Du Toit, used it to explain the similarity of strata and fossils of Africa and South America. Though Wegnerfs theory did not get enough support during his life time, it is now accepted by almost all geologists, and helped scientists to explore the Earthfs crust, and ocean floor.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document