Tectonics Timeline


Abraham Ortelius Birthday

14 April 1527

Abraham Ortelius is born in Antwerp, Belgium.

Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

1570 - 1612

Theatrum Orbis Terrarum is created by Ortelius. Considered the first modern atlas, it was the most expensive book ever printed. Until 1612, about 7000 different copies have been printed.

Continental Drift Theory is First Suggested


Abraham Ortelius is the first one to suggest the Continental Drift theory. He had noticed that the Americas were "torn away from Europe and Africa....by earthquakes and floods." He also said that if someone were to examine a world map and look at the coasts of the continents, they would find that they all fit together once. This was also when Pangaea was first mentioned.

Abraham Ortelius Dies

June 28, 1598

Abraham Ortelius dies at the age of 71. He is buried in Antwerp, Belgium.

Alfred Wegener is Born

November 1, 1880

Alfred Weneger is born in Berlin, Germany.

Continental Drift Theory Evidence

November 1911

Alfred Wegener starts to gather evidence for his theory on continental drift, which was gained after he noticed that fossils of plants and animals appeared on different sides of the world. He used both fossil evidence and large geological landmarks which fit together to prove his theory.

The Origin of Continents and Oceans


Wegener publishes a book outlining his theory of Continental Drift.

Hostility to Theory

Miscalculations and Disbelievers


Opposers of Wegener' s theory start pointing out mistakes and miscalculations in his theory. It was especially criticized due to the fact that Wegener had no real idea on why continental drift occurred. He had said in his book that the continents were plowing through the crust like icebreakers, and that centrifugal force or tidal forces were responsible for it. This idea was marked out when opposing scientists pointed out that those forces were not strong enough. Also, dues to some miscalculations, Wegener predicted that the continents moved about 250 cm a year, more than the amount they move this year. This greatly detoriated the validity of his theories.