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What do you understand by the continental drift theory ?

What are the


evidences in its support? (200 Words)

Wegener presented a comprehensive "continental drift theory" (1912) regarding distribution


of continents & oceans. He hypothesized that all continents formed a single continental mass
or a super continent known as PANGAEA surrounded by a mega ocean PANTHALASSA
which split 200 million years ago into two large continental masses LAURASIA &
GONDOWANALAND forming northern & southern hemispheres respectively. They
continued to break into smaller continents that exist today. He offered several evidences in
support of continental drift.

Evidences in support of the Continental Drift:


Jigsaw fit: The eastern coast of South America (BRAZILIAN BULGE) can be fitted against
the western coast of Africa (GULF OF GUINEA), called as 'jigsaw-fit' by Wegener.
Rock type: Folded mountain ranges at the cape of good hope Africa, tends to move from east
to west terminate sharply. An equivalent structure of same age & style appears near Buenos
Aries, Argentina.
Paleoclimatic evidence: Large mid latitude coal deposits, which stretched from north
America to china, and date to Permian & Carboniferous periods existed because these regions
once were equatorial in location & therefore covered by lush vegetation that became coal.
Similar rocks have been found in eastern parts of south America and west part of Africa,
Polar Wandering: according to wegener there has been change in positions of poles in
different geological periods. e.g during Silurian period north pole was 14deg north -124deg
west & south pole was near Madgascar. In the Carboniferous period North pole was 16deg
north latitude & 147deg west longitude and south pole was near Durban.

Geological Evidences: The Caledonian and Hercynian mountain systems of the Western and
eastern coastal areas of the Atlantic are similar and identical.

Tillite: during latter Paleozoic era , glaciers covered large portion of southern hemisphere.
The deposits left by these glaciers can readily be recognized and striations & grooves on the
underlying rocks show the direction in which ice moved.
Tillite Sedimentary rock formed by the deposites of glacires found in Africa, Madagaskar,
Falkland Island,Australia etc.
Placer Deposits: Ghana have deposits of gold in spite of having no source rock. It shows that
these deposites are derived from the Brazil Plateau when the two continents lay side by side.
Distribution of Fossils: There is similarity in the fossils and vegetation remains found on the
eastern coast of South America and the Western coast of Africa.
e.g.Skeletons of Mesosaurus(small reptile)

Land forms: putting together the continent of South America and Africa seems to be a single
one and perfectly insurted in the cuts between two. Besides, mountain range in argentina and
africa lined up together to be the same mountain range.

At first the Continental drift theory was not accepted and later when substantiated by these
evidences shown that there is a clear change in geography over a period of time, despite the
sceptical nature of scientists about the single mass of earth.