Continental Drift Theory

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Continental Drift Theory

Continental Drift Theory


Nature will never fail to disappoint humans with its strange facts about the universe. Very a famous German scientist Alfred Wegener brought such fact into light. He announced a theory, which he named as The Continental Drift Theory in 1915. According to his theory, the continents of the world were not stationary but moving. He proposed that once these continents were joined as one but with time, they have been separated. In its initial stages, this theory received harsh criticism.

Either it was the nature of this puzzling fact that it was not easy for the people of that era to accept it, or it was the fact that Alfred failed to provide enough evidences to support his theory. He proposed such theory when he observed the samples of plant and animal fossils from different continents of the world. He got amazed that how these fossils can have the same composition when the continents from where they were collected were at such large distance (Education Portal, 2013). This theory was critically questioned and brought under discussion at different platforms but never got any appreciation. However, despite this negative response Wegener firmly and steadfastly stood by his theory.

This criticism could never shake his confidence. In the end, what he believed was supported by later on discoveries that took place after his death. The world then realized that the theory he proposed had sense and was true.


Plate tectonics theory as proposed by Alfred Wegener is the total change scientific paradigm. Wegener provided a view that continents changed places across the earth. This was a radical proposition. Wegener used the scientific method in order to provide substance to his research. The stones were same on both sides of Atlantic. The evidence has showed that fossils of same species have occurred at both sides of ocean. The geological structure of the newly formed continents matched. Wegener also conducted fieldwork in Africa and South America and found correlation in index fossils, paleo climates, geologic structure and rock sequence between two continents. His theory was published in 1912 prior to World War I. The theory met with resistance until sonar technology was developed in 1950s, which provided in depth knowledge of the ocean floor. The research was quantitative analysis. Alexander du Toit supported the research of Wegener and wrote a book our wandering continents. He also conducted a scientific research and the method was quantitative (Young, 2009).

Later on, many years after Alfred's death researches began and started revealing such facts that supported the drift theory. Many geographic evidences were collected that proved the movement of continents away from each other. The ideas of paleomagnetism, sea floor spreading and convection currents provided decisive evidences in favor of this theory. Among them, the most important is the observation of costliness of West Africa was found exactly to fit in with the coastlines of South America. Another is the study of Harry Hess about the sea floor in 1960. He told in his book, History ...
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