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The work and life of Alfred Wegener

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The work and life of Alfred Wegener Alfred Wegener was born on November 1st 1880, he studied the natural sciences at the University of Berlin receiving a PhD in astronomy, graduating in 1904. As well as this qualification Wegener was knowledgeable in the areas of in geophysics and the newly developing fields of meteorology and climatology. He already played an active role in pioneering the scientific world in such things as the use of balloons to track air circulation, joining a trek to Greenland to study polar air circulation in 1906. Also on the list of achievement in Germany the text book that Wegener became standard. In 1914 he was enlisted into the German army, but was released from combat duty after receiving injury, and served out the war in the Army weather forecasting service. ...read more.


These plates move relative to one another above a hotter, deeper, liquid part of the earth called the mantle, at average rates as great as a few centre meters per year. Most of the world's active volcanoes are located along or near the boundaries between shifting plates and are called plate-boundary volcanoes Wegener first noticed a close similarity between fossils found on opposite continents, intrigued by this he explored the phenomenon finding that when studied large geographical areas of separate continent matched almost perfectly. Leading him to believe that all the continents must one day have been connected as one land mass called Pangaea (See map over page/ below.) Wegener's theory, when first proposed, was not well received by the scientific world and was seen as ridiculous. ...read more.


We now know that the farther away you travel from a ridge, the older the crust is, and the older the sediments on top of the crust are. It is clear that the ridges are the sites where plates are moving apart. Where plates collide, great mountain ranges may be pushed up, such as the Himalayas, or if one plate sinks below another, deep oceanic trenches and chains of volcanoes are formed. Earthquakes are by far most common along plate boundaries and rift zones: plotting the location of earthquakes allows seismologists to map plate boundaries and depths Paleomagnetic data have allowed us to map past plate movements much more precisely than before. It is even possible to measure the speed of continental plates extremely accurately, using satellite technology. Nevertheless, Wegener's basic insights remain sound, and the lines of evidence that he used to support his theory are still actively being researched and expanded. ...read more.

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