A. The Theory of Continental Drift
1. Alfred Wagener
2. All the continents were once joined
together in a single landmass and have
since drifted apart
3. Super continent was named Pangaea
4. Continental Drift – Pangaea broke
apart and slowly moved toward their
present day location
Alfred Wegener first proposed
the theory of continental drift.
was rejected by
he could not explain
what force pushes or
B. Evidence to support the theory
Evidence of Landforms –
Mountain ranges in South
Africa line up with mountain
ranges in Argentina
2. Evidence from Fossils –
fossils are any trace of an ancient
organism that has been preserved in rock
(Example – Glossopteris which is a fernlike
plant that lived over 250 million years ago
and was found in Africa, South
America, Australia, India, and Antarctica)
Notice how fossils lined up across continents!
3. Evidence from Climate –
Tropical plant fossils found in polar
climate and deep scratches in
rocks that where formed from
glaciers in tropical areas
Did you know...
1. that India was once in the Southern Hemisphere
connected to Antarctica?
2. that North America was once surrounded by
warm, tropical seas?
3. that Africa was once covered by glaciers, which were
kilometers in thickness?
4. that the Sahara desert was once a tropical rain forest?
Proof for Changing Climate
area that is
rest of the
As North America has drifted to different
latitudes, changing climates were experienced.
This shows the changes in the state of New Mexico.
• He could not find the force that was
causing the continents to drift.
• Because of this, he could not convince
anyone that continents could move.
• He died in Greenland on an expedition.
• At the time of his death, no one believed
Technology developed during the 1940’s
changed all that!
Sea floor Spreading
Magnetic pole reversals
Proof: Climate, Fossils, Geological Features