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German explorer and geophysicist Alfred Wegener

German explorer and geophysicist Alfred Wegener

H423/0170

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Alfred Wegener. Coloured portrait of the German geophysicist and proposer of the theory of continental drift, Alfred Wegener (1880-1930). Impressed by the matching coastlines of South America and Africa, Wegener suggested in 1912 that there had once been a single supercontinent (which he called Pangaea) that had fragmented and drifted apart into the continents we know today. Although he supported his argument with sound evidence, he was at a loss to explain the underlying mechanism, and the theory was discounted during his lifetime. Later discoveries proved him right and led to the new discipline of plate tectonics. Wegener died on an ice sheet during an expedition to Greenland.

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