Continental Drift is the idea that refers to the movement of Earth’s continents and plates relative to each other. This means that the earth’s plates move because of the unending cycle of cooling and raising of molten rock, adding new material t0 the edges of the plates. This movement is called divergent movement, the most common of the three types of movement between plates. The other two movements are called convergent and transform-fault.
This idea was first suggested by Alfred Wagener in 1915. He called the single large continent Pangaea.
Today, there are many different kinds of evidence that support continental drift. Some of the evidence includes:
• Alfred Wagener examines the location of tiny rocks and the direction of grooves. These were formed by large glaciers scraping across southern areas of Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and India. He finds that if all of these plates were fitted together, they would form a whole ice sheet, one that was not cut up in different pieces. • Wagener discovers mountains in South America (Argentina to be exact) line up with ancient African mountains in South Africa match when the two continents are placed together. He states, “You can compare this theory to Geologist Alexander du Toit’s theory.” Du Toit observes rock layers on the western coast of Africa in the following sequence: basalt rock, shale containing fossil reptiles, coal layers containing Glossopteris fossils, rocks containing Mesosaurus fossils, and shale. He discovers the very same series of layers on the eastern coast of South America. • In 1965, Geologist Edward Bullard uses computers to match coasts of South America and Africa. They match very well. Each has an ocean depth of 1,000 meters (3281 feet).