- Explain the theory of continental drift. Describe and explain at least three lines of evidence that Alfred Wegener used to support his theory of continental drift and the existence of the supercontinent Pangaea. Explain the theory of plate tectonics. How does the theory of plate tectonics help explain the idea of continental drift? Apply your knowledge of plate tectonics to explain the frequent occurrence of earthquakes and volcanoes along the Circum-Pacific Belt (Ring of Fire). Why is earthquake hazard high in California?
The theory of continental drift
The theory of continental drift is the idea that the continents have moved over time. This theory was first proposed by Alfred Wegener in the early 20th century. Wegener’s theory was based on three lines of evidence:
- The fit of the continents:Â Wegener noticed that the continents of Africa and South America fit together like puzzle pieces. He hypothesized that these two continents were once connected and that they had drifted apart.
- The fossil record:Â Wegener also noted that similar fossils of plants and animals were found on different continents. He hypothesized that these fossils had once lived on the same continent, which had since drifted apart.
- Rock similarities:Â Wegener also noted that similar rock formations were found on different continents. He hypothesized that these rock formations had once been part of the same mountain range, which had since drifted apart.
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