Geographic fit of continents & Continental Drift
1596 - Abraham Ortelius in Thesaurus Geographicus suggested that the Americas were "torn away from
Europe and Africa ... by earthquakes and floods". So, why does a Dutch mapmaker have a Latin name? During this time it was popular to Latinize your name - it made you a "legitimate" scientist.
1855 – U.S. Navy Lieutenant Matthew Maury created a bathymetric map with the first evidence of underwater mountains in the central Atlantic
1858 – Transatlantic Telegraph Cable confirmed mountains in the Atlantic Ocean
1858 - Antonio Snider-Pellegrini wrote La Création et ses mystères dévoilés. In this publications, he speculated that the continents were once connected during the Pennsylvanian Period, and that they broke apart due to the Biblical Flood. The problem with the flood theory is that it does not explain fully how the continents were pushed apart.
Eduard Seuss (1831 – 1914) was an Austrian Geologist and an expert on the geography of the Alps. He was a respected geologist who put forth many ideas on the origin of the continents, but many of them were not quite correct. He believed that the rise and fall of the oceans over time were responsible for the separation of the continents. Some of these ideas include:
- Postulated the existence of the Tethys Ocean. He believed that the Alps to the north were once at the bottom of an ocean (true, the Tethys) and that the Mediterranean Sea was the remains of this ocean (also true).
- He also speculated that South America, Africa, and India were joined in the super continent “Gondwanaland” (true) but were separated as ocean levels rose (not true). His evidence for this was glossopteris fern fossils, found on all three continents.