Plate Tectonics - A Scientific Revolution

Wegener also suggested that Pangea had split into fragments like pieces of ice floating on a pond and that the continental fragments had slowly drifted to their present locations.

Although Wegener had assembled a good deal of evidence, he couldn't explain the mechanism that would move the continents.

Another theory being discussed during his time to explain mountain building was the "Contraction theory"; which suggested that the planet was once a molten ball and in the process of cooling the surface cracked and folded up on itself. The big problem with this idea was that all mountain ranges should be approximately the same age, and this was known not to be true.

Wegener's explanation was that as the continents moved, the leading edge of the continent would encounter resistance and thus compress and fold upwards forming mountains near the leading edges of the drifting continents.

Wegener also suggested that India drifted northward into the Asian continent thus forming the Himalayas.


Brooklyn College - Geology Department