Essay about Alfred Wegener and the Continental Drift

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Alfred Wegener was a meteorologist and astronomer. He was the first scientist to introduce the theory of the continental drift. Wegener theorized that at one time the continents were one large landmass or Pangaea that had drifted apart. His ideas were initially rejected by other scientists. It was not until long after Wegener’s death that proof was obtained and his theory verified. The Life of Alfred Wegener Alfred was born in Germany in 1880 and led a very busy life. He received a PhD in astronomy but quickly moved on to meteorology. He and his brother experimented with kites and balloons. They set a record flying a balloon during his first expedition to Greenland in 1906 (PBS, 1998, para. 2). Alfred taught meteorology and…show more content…
Wegener’s theory was met with much controversy by other scientists. The fact that he was primarily a meteorologist and astronomer rather than a geologist further discounted his theory. Wegener provided numerous explanations and documentation in support of his continental drift theory. He provided two fossils as evidence. Glossopteris because it had been found on several continents that were widely separated. Glossopteris, also known as a seed fern fossil, was too large to be transported by the wind. The other was Mesosaurus which was a small aquatic freshwater reptile (Lutgens & Tarbuck, 2014, p. 154). Other scientists believed this was possible because land bridges had once existed or explained it away as drafting. Wegener most likely did not offer fossil sharks or jellyfish as evidence due to the fact that these fish inhabit all major oceans on the planet. He also used an Austrian geologist’s theory that the continental crust, sial, was lighter than sima and the sial layer could move across the ocean floor (Healey, 2006, para. 15). Wegener further stated that the tides could cause the continents to move and later came to the conclusion that magma could also be responsible for the movement. Wegener made two more journeys to Greenland to conduct meteorological and geophysical studies. His final trek in 1930 included the examination of the glacial sheets to provide further evidence regarding
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