The Origin of Continents and Oceans

Topics: Plate tectonics, Continent, Geology Pages: 1 (279 words) Published: March 7, 2013
In 1915 the first edition of The Origin of Continents and Oceans, a book outlining the Continental Drift theory of Alfred Lothar Wegener, a German meteorologist, was published; expanded editions were published in 1920, 1922, and 1929. About 300 million years ago, claimed Wegener, the continents had formed a single mass, called Pangaea (from the Greek for "all the Earth"). Pangaea had split, and its pieces had been moving away from each other ever since. Wegener was not the first to suggest that the continents had once been connected, but he was the first to present extensive evidence from several fields. He was subsequently proved right, although he was wrong in one respect; the continents don't drift on their own, they move as part of much larger "plates" of the Earth's surface, much of which is ocean floor. Wegner's hypothesis stated that Earth's continents were once joined in a single landmass and gradually moved or drifted apart.  Yes, that and he also provided information showing it, such as fossils of the same plants and animals living on different continents. Many people during his time didn't believe him. Just after his death in 1930 did people begin to accept the theory of continental drift. To support his theory he had the evidence of how the coastlines of North America and South America fit together with that of Europe and Africa. (That was too much to be just coincidence.) He found rocks and fossils on opposite sides of the Atlantic that correlated (matched up) if the continents were together. He also found climatologically evidence (in particular glacial erosion patterns) that could only logically be explained if the continents were together.
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