The continental drift hypothesis was emerged in the early component of the 20th century, greatly by Alfred Wegener. Wegener said that continents move roughly on Earth’s surface and that lock were once joined together as a solitary supercontinent. When Wegener was alive, researchers did not believe that the continents could move.

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THE continental DRIFT IDEA

Find a map that the continents and cut each one out. Much better yet, usage a map whereby the edge of the continents present the continental shelf. That’s the true size and shape the a continent. Have the right to you to the right the pieces together? The easiest attach is between the east Americas and also western Africa and Europe, yet the rest have the right to fit together too (figure 1).

api/deki/files/1204/CD_Figure_2.png?revision=1&size=bestfit&width=486&height=158" />Figure 2. The similarities in between the Appalachian and also the east Greenland hill ranges are evidences because that the continent drift hypothesis.

old fossils that the same types of extinction plants and animals are discovered in rocks of the same age however are top top continents that are currently widely be separated (figure 3). Wegener proposed the the organisms had actually lived next by side, yet that the lands had moved apart after they were dead and fossilized. He said that the organisms would certainly not have actually been able to travel across the oceans. Fossils of the particle fern Glossopteris were too hefty to be lugged so much by wind. Mesosaurus was a swim reptile however could just swim in new water. Cynognathus and also Lystrosaurus to be land reptiles and were unable to swim

Figure 3. Wegener provided fossil proof to support his continent drift hypothesis. The fossils of these organisms are found on soil that are now much apart.

Grooves and also rock shop left by ancient glaciers are discovered today on different continents really close to the equator. This would indicate that the glaciers either developed in the center of the s and/or covered most of the Earth. This day glaciers only kind on land and nearer the poles. Wegener assumed that the glaciers were centered over the southern land mass close come the south Pole and also the continents moved to their current positions later on on. Coral reefs and coal-forming swamps are uncovered in tropical and also subtropical environments, but ancient coal seams and also coral reefs are found in locations where it is lot too cold today. Wegener argued that these creatures were lively in warm climate zones and also that the fossils and coal later had drifted to new locations ~ above the continents.

Take a look at this computer animation showing the Earth’s climate belts remain in approximately the same place while the continents move and also this computer animation showing how the continents break-up up.

Although Wegener’s proof was sound, many smashville247.netlogists at the time rejected his theory of continent drift. Why execute you think castle did no accept continent drift?

Scientists argued that there to be no method to describe how solid continents could plow through solid oceanic crust. Wegener’s idea was nearly forgotten until technological advances gift even much more evidence the the continent moved and also gave scientists the devices to build a device for Wegener’s drifting continents.


Puzzling new evidence came in the 1950s from studies on the Earth’s magnetic background (figure 4). Scientists provided magnetometers, devices capable of measure the magnetic field intensity, come look in ~ the magnetic nature of rocks in numerous locations.

api/deki/files/1207/CD_Figure_5.png?revision=1&size=bestfit&width=429&height=305" />Figure 5. Earth’s present north magnetic pole is in north Canada.

enlarge rocks that are the very same age and are situated on the very same continent suggest to the very same location, but that ar is not the existing north magnetic pole. Older absent that are of various ages execute not point to the same locations or come the existing magnetic phibìc pole.

In other words, return the magnetite crystals were pointing to the magnetic phibìc pole, the place of the pole seemed to wander. Scientists were amazing to find that the phibìc magnetic pole adjusted location with time (figure 6).

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To test this, smashville247.netlogists equipment the continents together as Wegener had done. It worked! There has actually only been one magnetic north pole and the continents have drifted (figure 7). They called the phenomenon the the magnetic pole that appeared to move however actually did no apparent polar wander.