Alfred Wegener

  • Alfred Wegener realizes that continents fit together

    The concept of continental drift first came to me as far back as 1910, when consid-ering the map of the world, under the direct impression produced by the congruence of the coastlines on either side of the Atlantic. At first I did not pay attention to the idea because I regarded it as improbable. In 1911, I came quite accidentally upon a report in which I learned of paleontological evidence for a former land bridge between Brazil and Africa.
  • Alfred Wegener publishes book

    In 1915, Alfred Wegener (1880–1930) published hypothesis of continental drift in his book ,The Origin of the Continents and Oceans. He was not the first to observe that certain conti-nental coastlines fit together like pieces of a puzzle.
  • scientists reject Wegeners hypothosis

    Most scientists found serious flaws in Wegener’s hypothesis, and many dismissed it outright. One major weakness was that Wegener failed to provide a mechanism, or an explanation for how the continents moved. Still, some scientists thought that the continental-drift hypothesis could be very important and needed to be explored further. These passages represent some of the discussions scientists had about Wegener’s hypothesis
  • Wegener proposes his continental-drift hypothesis

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    Following the initial controversy over Wegener’s continental-drift hypothesis, there was little written about it for several decades.

  • Scientists realize that the plates did move

    In 1959, a U.S. Navy officer and Princeton geology professor named Harry Hess, who had used sonar during World War II to map vast areas of the Pacific bottom, wrote a paper explaining a process he called seafloor spreading: molten rock seeps up from the Earth’s interior through mid-ocean ridges (undersea mountain chains), spreads out to create new ocean floor, and then sinks back into the Earth’s interior through oceanic trenches. This would end up being the discovery that proved wgeners theory.
  • scientists accept continential drift theory.

    The advent of new and independent evidence suggestive of drift, from paleomagnetic studies, resuscitated the idea in the late fifties and sixties, and subsequently the post-war investment in marine geology and geophysics paid off in the form of providing compelling evidence for seafloor spreading and hence continental drift. By the late 1960s the vast majority of geologists and geophysicists were convinced that continental drift was a reality.