Continental Drift Essay

682 Words Mar 26th, 2006 3 Pages
Continental Drift Were the continents of this planet always situated the way they are today? Could there have been one supercontinent that over time broke off into the continents we know now? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Pangaea as a hypothetical land area believed to have once connected the landmasses of the southern hemisphere with those of the northern hemisphere (Definition of Pangaea). This theory, discovered by Alfred Wegener, was known as the drift theory. Wegener used the fit of the continents, the distribution of fossils, a similar sequence of rocks at numerous locations, ancient climates, and the apparent wandering of the Earth's Polar Regions to support his idea (Evidence Supporting Continental Drift). In 1912 Wegener …show more content…
Glacial striations on rocks show that glaciers moved from Africa toward the Atlantic Ocean and from the Atlantic Ocean onto South America. Such glaciations are most likely if the Atlantic Ocean was missing and the continents joined (Evidence Supporting Continental Drift). Wegener's most compelling argument was that the same types of plants and fossils were found on the coastlines of South America and Africa. This finding indicates that this life form must have evolved on the same single land mass. These two continents are separated by the Atlantic Ocean, which would have made it physically impossible for these creatures to have swum or been moved across the wide area of water. Wegener's theory of continental drift was not received right with the scientific community. Even though he had a substantial amount of research to prove his theory, he could not explain what type of immense force could move such large masses over vast distances. Wegener thought that the continents were moving through the Earth's crust, like icebreakers plowing through ice sheets, and that centrifugal and tidal force were responsible for moving the continents. Scientists who challenged his theory noted that plowing through oceanic crust would distort continents beyond recognition, and that centrifugal and tidal forces were far too weak to move continents (Alfred
Open Document