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Alfred Wegener

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Introduction

Alfred Wegener Alfred Lothar Wegener was born on November 1, 1880. He was interested in geophysics, and also became fascinated with the fields of meteorology and climatology. During his life, Wegener made several key contributions to meteorology; he pioneered the use of balloons to track air circulation, and wrote a textbook that became standard throughout Germany. In 1906 he joined an expedition to Greenland to study polar air circulation. Returning, he accepted a post as tutor at a German university. In 1914 he was drafted into the German army, but was released after being wounded, and served out the war forecasting the weather for the army. ...read more.

Middle

Intrigued by this, Wegener found more cases of similar organisms separated by great oceans. Science at the time explained such cases with land bridges, now sunken, had once connected the continents. Wegener had also noticed the close fit between the coastlines of Africa and South America. He wondered weather the similarities among organisms might be due to the continents having been joined together at one time. Such a claim, if it were to be accepted, would require large amounts of evidence. Wegener found that large geological features on separated continents often matched very closely when the continents were brought together. ...read more.

Conclusion

Wegener was not the first to suggest that the continents had once been connected, but he was the first to present extensive evidence from several fields. Although Wegener had proved continental drift in 1912, it was not widely accepted until the 1960s. This was due to the fact that several pieces of his evidence were flawed. He claimed that the continents moved over the ocean floor, where as we know today, the continents and ocean floor move on top of molten rock. Wegener's theory was only wholly substantiated after increased exploration of the ocean floor in the fifties. Wegener's term, continental drift, is incorrect, as both continent and ocean drift. Wegener died on May 12, 1931 in his tent due to a heart attack during an expedition to Greenland. ...read more.

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