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The Theory of Continental Drift - Research Paper Example

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The Theory of Continental Drift

He also argued that continents emerged from a “super continent” referred as Pangaea. The glacial till deposits found at the southern hemisphere indicated glacier movement. This was seen with the continents closely fitted together with motion from southern Africa and Northern Australia. The presence of the glacier with the stationery continent’s, would have only meant that the continent would have been full of ice which was not the case. The only logical argument was that there was continental drift or the movement of the poles. Scientists also supported Alfred’s theory of continental drift by coming up with their own arguments to support the theory. Paleomagnetism, which occurs when magnetized minerals of the earth formed from the cooling of magma on the earth surface, aligns with the earth’s magnetic field. Rocks with different magnetization from that of the earth’s surface did not agree with their position on the earth’s surface. This resulted to movement of the magnetic poles. Paleomagnetic data was evident in North America and Europe. According to (Hess, 1960, p 7) “Not only were the continents moving, but the sea floor was also moving”. Hess argued that, the movement of the sea floor in a belt fashion explains how the young rocks were found at the mid ocean ridges. This rocks also had magnetic properties. The mantle convention is the movement of the sea floor. ...
Evidence presented initially did not make any sense and seemed farfetched. "Wegener's hypothesis in general is of the footloose type, in that it takes considerable liberty with our globe, and is less bound by restrictions or tied down by awkward, ugly facts than most of its rival theories.” (McGeary 1999 p.5). The major problem being that Alfred could not provide them with convincing evidence to support his theory. Alfred’s argument that continents were in motion like icebreakers plowing through sheets of ice, and that centrifugal, tidal forces are the ones that caused them to move was opposed by scientists who calculated that, forces strong enough to move this continents would stop the earth from rotating in less than one year. Wegener’s incorrect predictions, stating that, North America and Europe were moving 250cm apart every year. Alexander Du Toit, a South African geologist, supported it for the close similarities of fossil and strata between Africa and South America. There was support awarded to Wegener but only after his death though most of the geologists still believed in static continents. Later most Plate tectonics were widely accepted by most geologists (1960). Wegener’s theory of the of the conventional drift was of the idea that, the mantle under the earth’s crust would experience thermal convention and the convention currents would move resulting to an upwelling under the earth’s crust, forcing it to cecede and move. The hypothesis asserting that the earth crust comprises of lighter rocks resting on heavier ones, resembles that of icebergs floating on water. Wegener argues that, positions of the continents are not rigidly fixed, but move slowly. According to the ...Show more


The Theory of Continental drift School Name The Theory of Continental Drift All continents are not stationary but are actually moving and drifting from one another according to Wegener (1999, p.6). He presented some evidence to support his argument’s, which included the fit of the continents…
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