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"There's an irony that the key objection to continent drift was that there is no mechanism, and plate tectonics was accepted without a mechanism," to move the continents, said Henry Frankel, an emeritus professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and author of the four volume "The Continental Drift Controversy" (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Although Wegener's "continental drift" theory was discarded, it did introduce the idea of moving continents to geoscience.

Plate tectonics is the widely accepted theory that Earth's crust is fractured into rigid, moving plates.

Continental drift was a theory that explained how continents shift position on Earth's surface.

Set forth in 1912 by Alfred Wegener, a geophysicist and meteorologist, continental drift also explained why look-alike animal and plant fossils, and similar rock formations, are found on different continents.

Though most of Wegener's observations about fossils and rocks were correct, he was outlandishly wrong on a couple of key points.

For instance, Wegener thought the continents might have plowed through the ocean crust like icebreakers smashing through ice.

Last modified 10-Feb-2016 13:44