Continental drift

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Plate Tectonics Internet Web Quest

Use the Internet to look up the following information.

  1. The idea of continental drift has been around for hundreds of years. Define continental drift.

Continental drift was a theory that explained how continents shift position on Earth's surface. Set forth in 1912 by Alfred Wegener, a geophysicist and meteorologist, continental drift also explained why look-alike animal and plant fossils, and similar rock formations, are found on different continents.

  1. While people have noted for the past 400 years or more that the continents look like they fit together and may have “drifted” to their current locations, Alfred Wegener more fully supported the idea in the early 1900’s. Research and name at least two pieces of evidence that support the idea of continental drift.

Rock, fossil, and climatic evidence.

  1. What is the name of Wegener’s supercontinent and about how long ago did it begin to break apart?


About 200 million years ago, the supercontinent began to break up.

  1. While Wegener provided many pieces of evidence for continental drift, he died before scientists accepted his idea. He was never able to explain how the continents could have moved that far apart. That was not discovered until the mid-1900s in an idea called sea floor spreading. Define sea floor spreading and explain how it could be responsible for continental drift.

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