Continental Drift

In: Science

Continental Drift

A German geologist and meteorologist named Alfred Wegener introduced a theory in 1915 that the Earth’s crust is slowly drifting using fossil records as his supporting evidence. Wegeners idea was Earth was one big continent 200 million years ago, he called it Pangaea, which means “All earth”. Albert Wegener published a book about this theory in 1915 called, On the Origin of Continents and Oceans.

An Austrian geologist named Eduard Seuss was the first to find that there had once been a land bridge that connecting South America, Africa, India, Australia, and Antarctica, he named the large piece of land Gondwanaland, the southern part of the huge continent Pangaea after it broke up during the Jurassic period. Seuss’s theory is supported by the fossil plants that are found throughout India, South America, southern Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.

Fossils of the first marine reptiles known as Mesosaurus that are even older than dinosaurs were found in South America and South Africa. With the discovery of the fossil in two different locations across water and the study of sedimentation and fossil plant in these southern continents led a South African scientist named Alexander duToit to supporting the idea that at one point all of the continents were once together and have drifted apart like Albert Wegener theorized.

In 1960, a theory was made explaining the movement of the Earth’s plates and explains the causes of volcanoes, oceanic trenches, mountain range formation, earthquakes and other phenomenon’s. Tectonic plates move at an estimated speed of one to ten centimeters per year. Earthquakes and volcano activity happens when the plates interact. There is a theory that the tectonic plates and the continental drift have a lot to do with the ice age.

Tectonic plates have layers; the top layers are called crust. The crust under the ocean...

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