Topics: Plate tectonics, Pangaea, Continent Pages: 4 (1133 words) Published: April 19, 2010
This paper will probe the theory that the continents of the Earth were originally a single supercontinent. It will describe the reasoning behind the theory, review the evidence that supposedly supports it, and present the reasoning for its rejection. It will also present an alternative view. It will explain the use of fossil records to link pieces of history, and why they may be one of the more significant methods used. The paper proposes that the theory of the supercontinent and the study of fossil records lack a confident conclusion to the geological history of the Earth and its present state, meriting the consideration of an alternative view.

In 1912, a German meteorologist submitted the idea of the continental drift. His name was Alfred Wegener, and although he was not the first to explore this theory, his pursuit of the idea held more determination than any other did.1 Wegener believed that the continents originally were attached in a single supercontinent he called Pangaea (“all land” or “all earth”). He also believed that the continent, surrounded by one global ocean, then broke apart and drifted to separate places on Earth. He reasoned that the process repeated itself over a period of time. A complete cycle from beginning to end could take approximately 300-600 million years. To support his theory, Wegener provided evidence, such as how the shapes of the continents appear to fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. He is also noted how mountain ranges continued between continents, and appear to link them together. Wegener also submitted evidence that fossils and rock matter found on different continents were very similar to each other. Most interestingly, were the instances in which plant and animal fossils were found on the coastlines of South America and Africa (If looking at a world map, it can be said that Africa‘s west coast and South America‘s east coast seem to fit together). To Wegner, this was the most compelling evidence that the two...

Bibliography: “Plate tectonics: definition and much more from“, 2008. (accessed 8/4/2008).
John Reader, Africa: A biography of the Continent (New York: Vintage Books, 1999).
NASA. “Evidence supporting Continental Drift” Sharron Sample, 2003.
The Holy Bible: New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1984).
Wikipedia. “Supercontinent cycle” 2008.
Wisegeek. “What is the supercontinent cycle?” (accessed 8/4/2008)
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