On Solid Ground The Alfred Wegener Story

On Solid Ground
The Alfred Wegener Story
Alfred Wegener
• Alfred Wegener was a German
• He was trained to be an
astronomer (someone who
studies Outer Space).
• He spent most of his life
working as a meteorologist (a
scientist who studies weather).
A True Scientist
• Alfred Wegener was:
–Curious about the world around him;
–Asked questions about his
–Systematically looked for explanations
for things he saw even if it did not
apply to his job (weather and climate)
The Theory of Continental Drift
• He was the first person to suggest (1910) that
the continents of the world were moving and
• The continents were all squished together as
one Super-Continent.
• He called this idea “The Theory of Continental
Evidence of Continental Drift
• One of the first clues to his theory came from
looking at the shape of the continents. He
noted that they look like they could fit
together, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Evidence of Continental Drift
• Reptile Fossil found in South America & South
Evidence of Continental Drift
• Fossils of tropical ferns found in
the Arctic.
• There is no way that those
topical plants could ever live
that far north.
• Therefore, he thought that
those northern areas must have
been down nearer the equator
at some point in history.
Pangaea – The Super Continent
• He named the supercontinent, Pangaea [panGEE-uh].
• Pangaea is a word that means “all the earth”.
Who does he
think he is?
Leave geology
to the big
boys! Back to
your glacier,
Weather Boy!
Continental Drift
– Really! What a
load of nonsense. Everyone
knows about
Land bridges!
Scientists Gave His Theory A Rude Reception!
Wegener’s Last Expedition
• In 1930 Wegener returned to Greenland.
• He was the expedition leader
• They were there to study the great ice cap
Wegener’s Last Expedition
• The ships were stuck in harbour ice for 2 months!
Wegener’s Last Expedition
• Due to storms & terrible weather conditions,
some critical supplies did not make it to
Middle Camp:
1. Tent
2. Radio transmitter
3. Some food
Wegener’s Last Expedition
• Wegener sets out with Lowe and a big team of
Greenlanders to rescue the Middle Camp
• Conditions were too harsh and many turned
Wegener’s Last Expedition
• Only Wegener, Lowe
and Villumsen (a
Greenlander) made
it to Middle Camp.
• Wegener &
Villumsen are is
great condition.
• Lowe is badly
Wegener’s Last Expedition
• Turns out that Middle
Camp dug an Ice cave
and found a way to
ration their food.
• They did not need
Wegener’s help!
Wegener’s Last Expedition
• Wegener celebrated his
50th birthday and then
turns around to head
back to base camp!
• Villumsen goes with him.
Wegener’s Last Expedition
• The last photo of Wegener
& Villumsen before they
set off into the Greenland
• Wegener’s body was
buried with care by
Villumsen and mark by
Wegener’s ski poles.
• It was thought that he
died of a heart attack in
his tent!
Wegener’s Last Expedition
• A cross was put up
to mark the spot
where Wegener’s
body was found.
• Both the body and
the cross have
disappeared under
the glacier!
Wegener’s Last Expedition
• Though his theory was still not believed, he
died a HERO who risked his life to save those
of this team.
• Eventually, scientists did come to realize that
his theory was correct.

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