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Unit 1.3: Drifting Continents
The theory of Continental Drift as proposed by Alfred Wegener
Alfred Wegener
• 1910: German scientist
• Wegener did multiple expeditions to
Greenland to explore the last unexplored
portion and do meteorological research
• Fought in WWI in Belgium
The Theory of Continental Drift
• All the continents were
once joined together in a
single landmass and have
drifted apart
• This single large landmass
was called “Pangea”,
which means “All Land”
Evidence of Wegener’s Theory
• Land Features
• Fossils
• Climate Change
Land Features
• Mountain ranges on Africa
and South America line up
• European coal fields match
up with coal fields in North
America
• Puzzle Pieces fit together
Fossil Evidence
• Fossils of exactly the same
prehistoric species were
distributed where you
would expect them to be if
there had been Continental
Drift
Climate
• Toward the equator, the climate is warmer
• Toward the poles, the climate is colder
• Fossils of tropical plants are found in the Arctic
Ocean Islands
• Deep scratches in rocks show that continental
glaciers once covered South Africa. Perhaps South
Africa was closer to the South Pole
• Glacial till deposits in the southern hemisphere:
Continents would need to be in the Pangea
formation to support this evidence