On November 1, 1880, geologist Alfred Wegener was born in Berlin, Germany. Wegener was one of the earliest advocates of the theory of continental drift. Continental drift is the movement (“drift”) of continents across Earth’s surface.Many scientists and cartographers had noticed that the landmasses of the planet fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle—the most noticeable example probably being the east coast of South America and the west coast of Africa.Wegener searched for evidence that these continents were once united, and had “drifted” apart. To do this, he sampled rock strata and fossils from either side of the Atlantic Ocean. The material collected from both continents was similar—too similar to have developed independently.
Wegener’s theory of continental drift was ultimately supported by the more robust theory of plate tectonics, which developed in the mid 20th century.

edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.


one of the seven main land masses on Earth.


the movement of continents resulting from the motion of tectonic plates.

plate tectonics

movement and interaction of the Earth's plates.


healthy and strong.

Plural Noun

(singular: stratum) layers of rock or other materials.