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Continental Drift

Pages 56-59 in Dynamic Earth



Wegenerís theory of Continental Drift:

The Earth once had a single landmass (One Continent) that broke up into large pieces, which have since drifted apart.

That single continent was called Pangaea (which means all earth). The continents continue to move in a horizontal direction. There is much evidence to support this theory.

Fossil Evidence:

Fossils of the same organism that were found in completely different continents support this theory.

Fossils are the preserved remains of ancient organisms (both plants and animals).

The fossils of an extinct plant called Glossopteris were found on the continents of Africa Australia, India and Antarctica. Their seeds could not possibly have traveled the great distances that separate the continents.

Rock Evidence:

The land formations (rock deposits) of the different continents fit together as if they were puzzle pieces.

Coalfields with distinctive layers in Brazil line up with coalfields with identical layers in Africa.

Ocean Floor Evidence:

Volcanic activity under our oceans helps to best explain how the continents were actually forced to move apart.

Deep under our oceans we examine the ocean floor and see that underwater mountains called mid-ocean ridges.


These ridges were formed when underwater volcanoes erupted pushing the continents apart. Lava flowed into the spaces and formed a new ocean floor. This left mountains and ridges at the bottom of our ocean. The line where the land was moved is called a transform fault.