September 22, 2009
Plate Tectonics Unit
Theory and Proof of Pangaea Essay
Was the Earth always like this? Is it possible that Africa was once connected to
South America, or that Antarctica was connected with Australia? Even though it may sound
impossible, Alfred Wegener has proven his ideas of a supercontinent with solid evidence.
Fossils of the same species of dinosaurs have been found in different locations throughout
the world. These findings are only explainable with Alfred Wegener's theory of Pangaea. The
form of the continents makes it possible to believe that they could have once fitted together.
Rock masses of the same age have been found in several different continents. Knowing
these facts, it is more than probable that the theory of Pangaea is correct.
Initially, proof of Pangaea was found when fossils of the same species were found in
different continents. Fossils from long ago have been found in many different continents.
They are not just any fossils. They are fossils from the same species. An example of this is
that fossils of the Mesosaurus, which is a freshwater reptile, have been found on the
coastlines of southern
South America, and on the
tip of South Africa. There
have been others found.
These include the
Glossopteris, a fern, the
Cynognathus, which is a
land reptile and another
land reptile called the
I chose this as a visual display of where the fossils of the animals have been found. The colors
show a simple picture of where the fossils where found.
Secondly, the continents all have forms which are able to fit together with another
continent like puzzle pieces. If you look closely at
a map of the world, you will see that all the
continents have coastlines that look a bit like old
puzzle pieces. Alfred Wegener saw this as well,
and he made a theory about it. According to
Alfred Wegener, all the continents where together
like a puzzle around 250 million years ago. Of
course, erosion has altered them a bit, and they
do not fit together so well anymore. You may
notice that Africa and South America still look like
they could fit together quite well. That is because
they split apart later than the other continents,
thus making them still have similar coastlines.
I chose this because it is an appropriate visual display
that shows how the continents once fitted together.
In addition to that, rock masses of the same age have also been found in different
continents. Scientists have discovered the same rock masses of the same age in different
continents. Since rocks do not move by themselves, it is only explainable that they got to the
different continents when the continents split. All the rock masses in between the continents
went either one way or another. This theory explains why they are of the same age, and why
the same rocks are in different continents.
The theory of Alfred Wegener has greatly advanced the world in their geographical
understanding, and has answered a mystery that scientists have been trying to discover for
Bibliography for Essay on Pangaea
"Continents on the Move." Pbs.org. NOVA, Jan. 2008. Web. 17 Sept. 2009.
"Plate Tectonics." Moorlandschool.co.uk. 27 Apr. 2009. Web. 19 Sept. 2009.
Student, Hilma. "The History of Continental Drift - Alfred Wegener." Bbm.me.uk. 29
Jan. 2003. Web. 18 Sept. 20009.
"Tectonic Plates." BBC.com. BBC, 22 Sept. 2009. Web. 16 Sept. 2009.
Weil, Anne. "Geology: Plate Tectonics." Ucmp.berkely.edu. WBS, 22 Aug. 1997.
Web. 16 Sept. 2009. <http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/geology/tectonics.html>.