why don’t the present shapes of the continents fit perfectly

Pangaea: 335 million years ago, all the landmasses on Earth were joined together in a single supercontinent of Pangaea. Over time, the geological forces which brought the continents together eventually caused them to drift apart.

Did the edges of continents fit together?

2. If the continental boundaries of North America, Europe, and South America are defined as the edge of the continental shelf, then those continents also fit together very well. … Evidence for “polar wandering” could be better explained with stationary poles and drifting continents.

What period did Pangaea begin to break up?

The supercontinent began to break apart about 200 million years ago, during the Early Jurassic Epoch (201 million to 174 million years ago), eventually forming the modern continents and the Atlantic and Indian oceans.

Can you easily fit the shapes of the continents?

Can you fit the pieces together? The easiest link is between the eastern Americas and western Africa and Europe, but the rest can fit together too (Figure 1). Alfred Wegener proposed that the continents were once united into a single supercontinent named Pangaea, meaning all earth in ancient Greek.

Are the continents a perfect fit?

The shapes of continents fit together like a puzzle. Just look at the east coast of South America and the west coast of Africa—it’s almost a perfect fit! Identical rocks have been found on different continents. These rocks formed millions of years ago, before the continents separated.

Why do the landmasses fit together?

Wegener suggested that perhaps the rotation of the Earth caused the continents to shift towards and apart from each other. (It doesn’t.) Today, we know that the continents rest on massive slabs of rock called tectonic plates. The plates are always moving and interacting in a process called plate tectonics.

What is the idea of the continental drift?

Continental drift is the hypothesis that the Earth’s continents have moved over geologic time relative to each other, thus appearing to have “drifted” across the ocean bed. The speculation that continents might have ‘drifted’ was first put forward by Abraham Ortelius in 1596.

Why was continental drift so controversial during Alfred Wegener’s time what explanation was necessary to support his hypothesis?

What explanation was necessary to support his hypothesis? Continental drift is not easily observable because tectonic plates move very slowly. When Wegener proposed the continental drift hypothesis, he was unable to identify a force that could move continents.

What is the fit of the continents?

The best fit is found to be at the 500 fm. contour which lies on the steep part of the continental edge. The root-mean-square errors for fitting Africa to South America, Greenland to Europe and North America to Greenland and Europe are 30 to 90 km.

When did people begin to notice that coastlines of continents fit together like puzzle pieces?

As early as the1500s map makers were beginning to notice that the individual continents fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. It wasn’t until 1912 that Alfred Wegener first proposed an acceptable hypothesis (continental drift) as an explanation.

Did humans exist during Pangea?

Pangea existed 335,000,000 years ago, so there were definitely no humans (or even primates) on Pangea. There were some temporary land “bridges” which allowed for human migration from Africa to Australia, among other places.

What was the Earth called before Pangea?

Between roughly 750 million and 550 million years ago these ocean basins were destroyed, and all the Precambrian nuclei of Africa, Australia, Antarctica, South America and India amalgamated into the supercontinent of Gondwana.

Will Pangea happen again?

The last supercontinent, Pangea, formed around 310 million years ago, and started breaking up around 180 million years ago. It has been suggested that the next supercontinent will form in 200-250 million years, so we are currently about halfway through the scattered phase of the current supercontinent cycle.

What was Wegener’s mechanism for drifting continents CK 12?

Alfred Wegener said that the continents had been joined as a single landmass, which he called Pangaea. He had a lot of evidence to support his hypothesis, but he could not explain how the continents could move through the oceans. He suggested that continental drift occurred like an icebreaker plows through sea ice.

Can it sufficiently support the existence of Pangaea?

The rock formations of eastern North America, Western Europe, and northwestern Africa were later found to have a common origin, and they overlapped in time with the presence of Gondwanaland. Together, these discoveries supported the existence of Pangea. … Modern geology has shown that Pangea did actually exist.

How does the width of the continental shelf vary from place to place?

The widths of the continental shelves vary. Along parts of the U.S. state of California, for example, the continental shelf extends less than a kilometer (. 62 miles). But along the northern coast of Siberia, the shelf extends about 1,290 kilometers (800 miles).

What caused Pangea to break up?

Scientists believe that Pangea broke apart for the same reason that the plates are moving today. The movement is caused by the convection currents that roll over in the upper zone of the mantle. This movement in the mantle causes the plates to move slowly across the surface of the Earth.

Which two continents can fit like a puzzle?

The Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America appear to fit together neatly, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

When did laurasia break up?

It separated from Gondwana 215 to 175 Mya (beginning in the late Triassic period) during the breakup of Pangaea, drifting farther north after the split and finally broke apart with the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean c. 56 Mya.

What are the landmasses that fit together?

In 1912, Wegener proposed a theory that at one time all the Earth’s landmasses were joined together, forming one giant supercontinent. He named the giant supercontinent Pangaea, which means “all Lands” in Greek.

How were all the continents together?

This giant landmass known as a supercontinent was called Pangea. The word Pangaea means “All Lands”, this describes the way all the continents were joined up together. Pangea existed 240 million years ago and about 200 millions years ago it began to break apart.

Why did scientists not accept the continental drift hypothesis?

The main reason that Wegener’s hypothesis was not accepted was because he suggested no mechanism for moving the continents. He thought the force of Earth’s spin was sufficient to cause continents to move, but geologists knew that rocks are too strong for this to be true.

Why is Continental Drift important?

continental drift, large-scale horizontal movements of continents relative to one another and to the ocean basins during one or more episodes of geologic time. … This concept was an important precursor to the development of the theory of plate tectonics, which incorporates it.

What forces drive the drifting of the continents?

Heat and gravity are fundamental to the process

The energy source for plate tectonics is Earth’s internal heat while the forces moving the plates are the “ridge push” and “slab pull” gravity forces. It was once thought that mantle convection could drive plate motions.

What two specific continents fit together most noticeably?

Answer. The east coast of South America and the west coast of Africa seem to fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and Wegener discovered their rock layers “fit” just as clearly. South America and Africa were not the only continents with similar geology.

Why did scientists not accept the continental drift hypothesis quizlet?

Why did scientists not accept the Continental Drift hypothesis? It was based on observations from the southern hemisphere which was unfamiliar to most geologists. … Wegener suggested the thick continents moved through the thinner ocean crust.

How does seafloor spreading theory explain the drifting of continents?

Seafloor spreading helps explain continental drift in the theory of plate tectonics. When oceanic plates diverge, tensional stress causes fractures to occur in the lithosphere. … Older rocks will be found farther away from the spreading zone while younger rocks will be found nearer to the spreading zone.

What first caused people to consider that the continents were once one large landmass?

What first caused people to consider that the continents were once one large landmass? Continents looked like they fit together. Which continents contain fossils of Mesosaurus, an extinct reptile, in similar regions of Pangaea?

Why did people begin to notice that coastlines of continents fit together like puzzle pieces?

South Africa was once covered by glaciers, according to geologic evidence. F. Explorers and mapmakers noticed that the continents fit together like puzzle pieces. … Over tens of millions of years, the giant supercontinent Pangaea began to slowly drift apart, forming the continents as they are known today.

What might be causing the continents to move over time?

The movement of these tectonic plates is likely caused by convection currents in the molten rock in Earth’s mantle below the crust. … The long-term result of plate tectonics is the movement of entire continents over millions of years (Fig.

Who was the first human?

One of the earliest known humans is Homo habilis, or “handy man,” who lived about 2.4 million to 1.4 million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa.

What if Pangea never broke apart?


why don’t the present shapes of the continents fit perfectly



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