3 facts about alfred wegener

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3 facts about alfred wegener

The Origin of Continents and Oceans by Alfred Wegener

Since its inception modern geology has been faced with an important group of problems: explaining parallel formations that are separated by great distances of sea; accounting for isolated life forms in widely separated areas (such as lemurs in Madagascar and India); explaining pre-pleistocene glaciations, and similar problems. The usual explanation has been to assume the one-time existence of land bridges (such as the hypothetical Lemuria) or parallelisms or diffusion with lost intermediary steps.
In 1915, however, one of the most influential and most controversial books in the history of science provided a new solution. This was Alfred Wegeners Entstehung der Kontinente, which dispensed with land bridges and parallel evolutions and offered a more economical concept. Wegener proposed that in the remote past the earths continents were not separate (as now), but formed one supercontinent which later split apart, the fragments gradually drifting away from one another. Wegener created his supercontinent with attractive simplicity by tucking the point of South America into the Gulf of Guinea, coalescing North America, Greenland, and Europe, rotating Australia and Antarctica up through the Indian Ocean, and closing the remaining gaps. Wegener then explained various phenomena in historical geology, geomorphy, paleontology, paleoclimatology, and similar areas of science in terms of this continental drift. To back up his revolutionary theory he drew upon a seemingly inexhaustible find of data. Later editions of his book added new data to refute his opponents or to strengthen his own views in the violent scientific quarrel that arose.
Even today this important question remains undecided, and geologists are divided into strongly opposed groups about the Wegener hypothesis. At the moment it seems to be gaining steadily in acceptance. It is one of the two basic theories of earth history, and since it has often been misrepresented in summary, every earth scientist owes it to himself to examine its theories and data.
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Alfred Wegener (1880-1930)

During his lifetime he was primarily known for his achievements in meteorology and as a pioneer of polar research, but today he is most remembered as the originator of the theory of continental drift by hypothesizing in that the continents are slowly drifting around the Earth German: Kontinentalverschiebung. His hypothesis was controversial and not widely accepted until the s, when numerous discoveries such as palaeomagnetism provided strong support for continental drift, and thereby a substantial basis for today's model of plate tectonics. Expedition participants made many meteorological observations and were the first to overwinter on the inland Greenland ice sheet and the first to bore ice cores on a moving Arctic glacier. Alfred Wegener was born in Berlin on 1 November as the youngest of five children in a clergyman's family. His father, Richard Wegener, was a theologian and teacher of classical languages at the Berlinisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster. In his family purchased a former manor house near Rheinsberg , which they used as a vacation home.

Additional Biography Sources

The German meteorologist, Arctic explorer, and geophysicist Alfred Lothar Wegener is remembered for his theory of continental drift. Alfred Wegener son of an Evangelical preacher, was born in Berlin on Nov. He attended university at Heidelberg, Innsbruck, and Berlin. He became interested in arctic climatology and joined the Danish expedition to Greenland as meteorologist. He returned there in and, wintering on a high glacier, completed studies begun on his first visit. In Wegener settled at Marburg, lecturing there with enviable clarity on meteorology and astronomy.

He is most notable for his theory of continental drift , which he proposed in This was the idea that the continents were slowly drifting around the Earth. At the time he was unable to demonstrate a mechanism for this movement, and other scientists thought it was simply impossible. His hypothesis was not accepted until the s when several discoveries gave evidence of continental drift. In he was drafted 'called up' into the German Army. After he was severely wounded he was transferred to the army weather service. The theory had been proposed before, more than once.


  1. Rosenda V. says:

    Alfred Wegener , in full Alfred Lothar Wegener , born November 1, , Berlin , Germany—died November , Greenland , German meteorologist and geophysicist who formulated the first complete statement of the continental drift hypothesis.

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