Course: Science Subtest I
Lesson: Dynamic Processes of the Earth (Geodynamics)
Topic: Tectonic Processes I: Continental Drift      Page 11 of 15  

Continental drift. Wegener called the movement of continents across the Earth’s surface continental drift.

Wegner suggested that the continents came together to form the supercontinent of Pangaea during the late Paleozoic. His evidence included the fit of the continents, the distribution of fossils, the locations of ancient glaciers and rocks representing other climate zones, and the distribution of mountain ranges and rock types. Although his evidence seems overwhelming, very few scientists of his day accepted this idea.

Scientists did not accept the idea because Wegener could not come up with a plausible mechanism to explain how the continents could plow through the ocean basins. The lack of a mechanism meant that continental drift was barely mentioned for several decades.


Alfred Wegener on Greenland, winter of 1912 — 1913.