Talk:Continental drift

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Additional evidences[edit]

Another evidence of continental drift is that coal, normally formed only in warm and damp conditions, are found in Antarctica. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mamimemomu (talkcontribs) 12:54, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Continental drift term[edit]

The best out of this material would suit the 'history' subsection at Plate tectonics instead of being isolated under this antiquated expression, IMO. More findable I think. Wetman 04:42, 12 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Article topic is Wegner's time period[edit]

I think that this term is important for its historical value. It is anachronistic to discuss Wegner's theory as plate tectonics, since the term was invented over 30 years after his death. This article should be about the development of the concept of continental drift separately from that of plate tectonics. Although this article needs further work (e.g., Various data) Gwimpey 23:16, 5 May 2004 (UTC)

I am going to add some info on pre-Wegner continental drift hypotheses based on info in Geology in the Nineteenth Century by Mott T. Greene Gwimpey 23:54, 9 May 2004 (UTC)

Ocean size[edit]

Well, I think that continental drift started with Pangaea (pan-GEE-uh). I had a carful look... The world was all once coverd in sea —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:29, 1 July 2008 (UTC) In fact, I think that the ocean does not get bigger because of plate tectonics. If the magma spreads the plates apart and creates more oceanic crust, then the oceanic plates will just go below other plates and the ocean will get new crust and lose old crust. I do think, however, that the land masses will get bigger from the rifts on the land and the land plates will go over all the oceanic crusted plates.

No, the Pacific ocean is in fact getting smaller. This is because it has more convergent than divergent boundaries, so more material is being "destroyed" than "created". Conversly and consequentially, the Atlantic Ocean is growing because the mid-ocean range goes thorugh the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean, as a whole, is not shrinking, if that is what you mean. But specific oceans are shrinking due to their plate boundaries. -Anonymous
Whether ocean gets bigger depends upon everything else. India merging with Asia surely takes less surface area than did a separate India. But various volcanic islands have grown, rivers have dumped sediment, the South Atlantic has moved Africa and South America apart, the Rift valley in Africa is opening, etc. (SEWilco 02:45, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC))

Super-Continent Missconception

Current continental drift theory which suggest a super continent exist on one side of the planet defies the laws of physics. The material that makes up rock is much denser than water. When you examine the current distribution of mass on the planet, and keep in mind the laws of gravity, the bulk of the mass exist in quasi pyramid structure which is a result of the global equalization of these laws. The only way a mass continent would be formed would be if the earths crusts was too thick for the continental drift to even work(mass of the super continent is insignificant in comparison to the relative mass of each existing crust-really thick) . Redistribution of the oceans is a constant that happens and should be calculated into any and all standing theroms.
This argument is false. The Earth's continents and oceans would have been in isostatic equilibrium, for the most part (as they are today). The mass of a section of continental lithosphere and oceanic lithosphere, down to the same depth in the mantle, even out with time due to the relatively low viscosity of the asthenosphere.Adrock828 11:31, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

I am the original author of the super-continent misconception and am disappointed that such a bold response to my position based on the variable viscosity of a still unexplored(theoretical) layers of the earths surface.--Uberman19 (talk) 04:00, 4 July 2012 (UTC)


There is a link stating that this is a subarticle of plate tectonics [1] but this article contains a link stating that plate tectonics is a subarticle of this article.[2] Is this article a subarticle? (SEWilco 5 July 2005 07:26 (UTC))

Sunken Continents vs. Continental Drift[edit]

My edition is not 'original research' as every sentence and conception conveyed is sourced, and less even are 'inappropriate'. The articles are scientific peer-reviewed; due to deletions in this and other articles I copy it to here for those who really want to make scientific research and not scientific politics. Regards --GalaazV 23:56, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

See main article Vertical tectonics.

Continental drift theory far from being a simple, elegant, all-embracing global theory, it is confronted with a multitude of observational anomalies, and has had to be patched up with a complex variety of ad-hoc modifications and auxiliary hypotheses. The existence of deep continental roots and the absence of a continuous, global asthenosphere to 'lubricate' plate motions, have rendered the classical model of plate movements untenable. There is no consensus on the thickness of the 'plates' and no certainty as to the forces responsible for their supposed movement. The hypotheses of large-scale continental drift, seafloor spreading and subduction, and the relative youth of the oceanic crust are contradicted by a considerable volume of data. Evidence for substantial vertical crustal movements and for significant amounts of submerged continental crust in the present-day oceans poses another major challenge to plate tectonics.

A major new hypothesis of geodynamics [3] is surge tectonics, which rejects both seafloor spreading and continental drift. Surge tectonics postulates that all the major features of the earth's surface, including rifts, foldbelts, metamorphic belts, and strike-slip zones, are underlain by shallow (less than 80 km) magma chambers and channels (known as 'surge channels'). Seismotomographic data suggest that surge channels form an interconnected worldwide network, which has been dubbed 'the earth's cardiovascular system'. Active surge channels are characterized by high heat flow and microearthquakes. Magma from the asthenosphere flows slowly through active channels at the rate of a few centimeters a year. This horizontal flow is demonstrated by two major surface features: linear, belt-parallel faults, fractures, and fissures; and the division of tectonic belts into fairly uniform segments. The same features characterize all lava flows and tunnels, and have also been observed on Mars, Venus, and several moons of the outer planets. Surge tectonics postulates that the main cause of geodynamics is lithosphere compression, generated by the cooling and contraction of the earth. As compression increases during a geotectonic cycle, it causes the magma to move through a channel in pulsed surges and eventually to rupture it, so that the contents of the channel surge bilaterally upward and outward to initiate tectogenesis. The asthenosphere (in regions where it is present) alternately contracts during periods of tectonic activity and expands during periods of tectonic quiescence. The earth's rotation, combined with differential lag between the more rigid lithosphere above and the more fluid asthenosphere below, causes the fluid or semifluid materials to move predominantly eastward.


  1. ^ Pratt, David Sunken Continents versus Continental Drift, Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm Under Threat first published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 307-352, 2000


Dubious at best. Ref links are to compuserve userpage for one David Pratt. The ref Journal of Scientific Exploration appears to be a place to get your wild ideas and speculations published - peer reviewed by what peers? If it wasn't bunk it would be published in a real journal. The J of Sci Expl. publishes stuff on bigfoot and re-incarnation, unlikely bedfellows for a serious geophysics article. In other words nonsense! Now, there are unanswered questions and plenty of room for new research related to plate tectonics - it is a vibrant living science and new discoveries and controversies are there. If the controversies have validity, they will be published in true peer reviewed journals. I say begone with it - or write an article for it properly labeled as speculation and pseudoscience - along with the flat and/or hollow earthers. Vsmith 00:48, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree. It seems strange to me. Bubba73 (talk), 01:09, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
The subject matters published in the journal are immaterial to the validity of the theory, which is lacking. A better rebuttal is that every observation is against it. Thus, it's junk. A nice fiction, yes, but a fiction nonetheless. Whether or not Atlantis did exist has nothing to do with the validity of this theory, that's for sure. Why don't we notice the continents now sinking down or rising up? Because maybe they don't do that? Hmm... "Vertical tectonics" = "Vertical bunk". Oh, and Plato never said Atlantis was a continent, too... 00:04, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
After a bit more looking at D. Pratt's c-serve page, I'd say add the nonsense to Theosophy - check out his site, hilarious [4] :-) Vsmith 01:20, 15 February 2006 (UTC)


The article opens "Continental drift, first proposed as a theory by Alfred Wegener". According to Drifting continents and shifting theories by H. E. LeGrand, Wegener was not the first to propose drift. He gives a very interesting history. I'm up to chapter 5 in the book, but there are quite a few things about (1) the history and (2) Wegener's evidence that I intend to put in the article. Bubba73 (talk), 04:52, 13 December 2006 (UTC)


I think this section should be moved to the main article Permo-Carboniferous. Solarapex 01:31, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. I modified the section here to include only the evidence for continental drift, and now I'm going to see if anything I deleted here should go in the Permo-Carboniferous article. Cheers Geologyguy 02:20, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree, Geologyguy, I think that you are completely correct about Permo-Carboniferous.

Cleanup for references section requested[edit]

References contain <references/> and then a bulleted list of references. The bulleted list contents should be moved up into the text to be referenced properly. Said: Rursus 12:03, 24 May 2007 (UTC)


Its remarkable to see that Roberto Mantovani construct the entire theory of Plate Tectonics When Wegener was only 9 Years old, and the wegener got the recognition for it !! Roberto Mantovani gave the theory of Continental drift to the world, and now Wegener is the father of it !!?? Furthermore is remarkable that there are no references to Mantovani in the WIKIPEDIA WEGENER Biography !? The truth is that Mantovani established the theory of plate tectonics in its entirety, Wegenr made a copy Of it and come out with the same identical theory ( in his own word Mantovanis work on Continental drift was remarkably similar !! ) And noe wegener takes the glory for it !! Indeed both man were erroneous when describing the Mechanism responsible for the drifting of continents, and took some 70 years after mantovanis Death with the development of Seismic, gravity and magnetic and computer science to be able to shape the science of continental drift. Wegener was not honest when he wrote the note as to Mantovanis work, for he never said that He took Mantovanis theory and became a prominent Follower. Weger embarked to offer a different view as to the Mechanisms responsable for Continental Drift. Wegener in changing montovani idea of thermal expansion Proposed a theory for far more incorrect, one of centrifugal force ………….“being the responsible factor for explaining continental drift“ !!!! But I would go further to prove the injustice toward Mantovanis recognition of his revolutionary work, by taking WIKIPEDIA historians to look at the Alfred Wegener page !! There is no clear reference to Roberto Mantovani when addressing The historical development of the so called ………… "WEGENER THEORY OF CONTINENTAL DRIFT” !!!! Is like looking into the history of the development of quantum mechanics and not mentioning Heisenberg !!?? …………..or……….. …….. Looking into the history page of Wolfang Pauli on WIKIPEDIA and not finding Reference to Heisenberg !!?? 22:40, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Well it's true that Mantovani seems to be the first one to propose the supercontinent Pangaea. But his expanding earth theory itself is (according to the scientific community) completely wrong, and so there is a big difference between his model ant that of Taylor and Wegener. However, I agree that it's important to mention him in the article, so I included a passage. --D.H (talk) 16:34, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

After reading this article, it seems that this is turning into a "who thought it up first" pissing contest. Each paragraph seems to one up the previous one with who came up with the idea first. People who do this clearly have no idea how real science functions. In science, no one 100% "invents" or "discover" something in total isolation of previous knowledge. Like it or not, Wegener is the most well known proponent of this theory. By all means, mention all his predecessors but don't let narrow parochialism ruin this article. 5 March 2008

Scientific method[edit]

The following part bothers me, as it seems an unnecessary attack on Wegener's fellow scientists: "For their part, the geologists ignored Wegener's copious body of evidence, allowing their adherence to a theory to override the actual data, when the scientific method would seem to demand the reverse approach." Pray, what was the theory that other geologists boneheadedly adhered to? The Theory of Continents Being Stuck in Place? Wegener had plenty of data, but no underlying theory that could explain them. Lacking an explanation, other scientists were quite right to be doubtful - and to keep researching. As a loose parallel, consider modern-day pseudoscientists: parapsychologists and homeopaths have gathered huge amounts of data about their disciplines, but scientists are right in dismissing them until somebody can come up with a theory that can actually be tested, and that can make predictions. (There are also doubts about their data-gathering methodology being flawed, since pseudoscientists usually gather anecdotes.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rizzardi (talkcontribs) 11:43, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

I am a user who has noticed a bias saying that since Wegener published in German, his ideas didn't reach "a majority of scientists". Science was NOT an English-centric industry back then! German science was pre-eminent and scientists on all continents went to study there and had a working knowledge of German. "Beilstein", the compilation of facts about organic chemicals, was for decades and until recently ONLY published in German. If you go further back, other dominant science languages existed at different times such as French. In the movie MASTER AND COMMANDER, the captain on board reads a French reference book on naturalist matters. Before that, of course, scholars wrote in Latin.-- (talk) 01:03, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Stupid Question (future movement)[edit]

Hello. Im just wondering if there is any article on wikipedia (or elsewhere for that matter) where I get access to future predictions on how the continents and the world will develop. Ive been browsing this article, the physical geography article and affiliated articles to that, and also geology articles without any result. Maybe I still missed it, and this whole question is kind of an embarrasment? MB - 18 April 2008

The Paleomap project website gives predicted plate configurations 50, 100 & 250 Ma in the future . Mikenorton (talk) 10:55, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Thank you! MB - 19 April 2008

Continued vandalism[edit]

If there is a lot of vandalism, there is always the option of having an article semi-protected. I've had this article on my watchlist, and I would be inclined to consider this necessary here. If this is the view of other editors, too, I can write the necessary comment on the appropriate noticeboard. Zara1709 (talk) 03:40, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Removed Persian non-drift bit[edit]

Removed the following:

In the 11th century, the Persian geologist, Abū Rayhān Bīrūnī (973-1048), observed the geology of India and discovered that the Indian subcontinent was once a sea, hypothesizing that it became land through the drifting of alluvium. He wrote:

But if you see the soil of India with your own eyes and meditate on its nature, if you consider the rounded stones found in earth however deeply you dig, stones that are huge near the mountains and where the rivers have a violent current: stones that are of smaller size at a greater distance from the mountains and where the streams flow more slowly: stones that appear pulverised in the shape of sand where the streams begin to stagnate near their mouths and near the sea—if you consider all this you can scarcely help thinking that India was once a sea, which by degrees has been filled up by the alluvium of the streams.[1]

Basically the Persian reported some astute sedimentological observations and interpretations, but really has nothing to do with continental drift - just the filling of a sea by sediments. Vsmith (talk) 23:39, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

It is relevant to the article, not because Biruni suggested the idea of continental drift (which he didn't), but because the region he is discussing, the Indian subcontinent, was created due to continental drift. He discovered that the Indian subcontinent was once a sea but didn't know the true reason for it. Jagged 85 (talk) 16:31, 23 September 2008 (UTC)


  1. ^ A. Salam (1984), "Islam and Science". In C. H. Lai (1987), Ideals and Realities: Selected Essays of Abdus Salam, 2nd ed., World Scientific, Singapore, p. 179-213.

Expanding Earth theory[edit]

Can someone have a look with me at Expanding Earth Theory? Someone there is objecting to statements to the effect that it is against the scientific consensus and against the idea that it should be moved to Expanding Earth or Expanding Earth hypothesis. Basically I'm hoping someone has quick knowledge of a review article or two that rule it out as a useful scientific "theory", and even better one that calls it "Fringe science" or pseudoscience. Thanks. NJGW (talk) 19:29, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Sea-floor spreading, anyone?[edit]

This is an important topic to outline. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:18, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

A passing reference in Darwin's Transmutation Note books[edit]

I was just flicking through Darwin's Transmutation Notebooks online when I noticed his point 72 in book 1 [5]

"Speculate on land being grouped towards centre near Equator in former periods, & then splitting off. If species generate other species, their race is not utterly cut off; — like golden pippen, if produced by seed go on. — otherwise all die. — The fossil horse generated in S. Africa Zebra — & continued. — perished in America."

Whilst not in the mainstream of the narative presented in this article, it does imply that the great man did consider continental drift as a causal mechanism for speciation. Doing a wider internet search, there does seem do a lot of debate around this subject. I just wonder if this article is a little narrow in its discussion, and I find this sort of cross-reference fascinating. — TerryE (talk) 01:54, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Lead Image[edit]

If continental drift and plate tectonics are different articles and distinct from each other, shouldn't a more appropriate image be at the lead? Thoughts? Suggestions? Cmiych (talk) 22:06, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Makes sense to me... how about File:Antonio Snider-Pellegrini Opening of the Atlantic.jpg in the lead? NJGW (talk) 22:28, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Seems more appropriate to me. Unfortunately, I am pretty new and haven't dabbled in dealing with images yet... YET mind you... I say go for it and if a better one comes along it can always be changed again! From what I hear, wikipedia is all about some boldness... Cmiych (talk) 15:03, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I disagree.[edit]

I disagree with this theory. I therefore make edits that demonstrate this and add to NPOV. Czar Choi (talk) 20:49, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Most geologists also disagreed with this theory, even before the advent of plate tectonics, and I have added a section which summarily touches on some of the reasons why. Which goes to show how, in science, you can't just state something which might be true, you have to show how or why. That the continents move is an observation that is beyond doubt. "Continental drift", as a theory, was not accepted because it could not explain that. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:52, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Section titles, and implications.[edit]

The new titles for the last two sections ("Evidence basis for continental drift", "Historical evidence against") are bothering me. (Recap: the first section was originally just "Evidence", which I changed to "Evidence for" when I added last section as "Evidence against".) "Historical" seems inappropriate, or at least awkward, as the evidence against the theory of continental drift is not historical, although the presentation of said evidence could be deemed part of the history, or development, of the theory. I think the basic problem is in the difference between continental drift as a phenomenon (which is certainly shown to be true) and Wegner's theory (which failed to explain the phenomenon). It seems more appropriate to have titles on lines of "Evidence that continental drift happens" and "Evidence that Wegner's theory is incorrect". But I am not entirely happy with these. Anyone have any better suggestions? - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:36, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

I have just tweaked the titles of the last two sections. I hope these will be more satisfactory. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 01:32, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Spurious changes.[edit]

I have just undone some changes by Nobaddude which may have been well intended, but were ill-advised. E.g., wiki-linking the physicist Scheidigger when there is not only no article on him, but he was not notable enough for an article. Or changing the 'isostatic' wiki-link to 'isostatic equilibrium', which does not exist. I would suggest that before jumping in to make changes please give a little more thought to whether such changes would be useful. Ask here if you have any quesitons. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:08, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Edit request[edit]

{{editsemiprotected}} Suggest the following change:

and both kinds resulting above a much deeper fluid mantle


and both kinds residing above a much deeper fluid mantle (talk) 13:06, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Set Sail For The Seven Seas 199° 49' 30" NET 13:19, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I think the last edits (converting the http links in "External links" to citations) is ill-advised. I believe it is generally understood (?) that "links" in this context are meant to be www hyperlinks to external web sites that may be of interest to the reader. Citations of sources in support of elements of the article, which may have links to the sources, are in standard bibliographic format for purposes of documenting the source, but that is over-kill for pointing the reader to other sites. I suggest that these edits be reverted. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:12, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

It is important that all links on Wikipedia (internal or external) give adequate information on where you end up if you actually click the link. Most people probably understand that the links are external, but more often than not, external links on Wikipedia fail to describe what information the page actually offers. External links should not only describe the nature of the target, but also explain its relevance to the article subject. Basically, any external link section needs to make clear why external links are "reliable sources" and why they are relevant to the article. Using templates is a good way to implement that. --Fama Clamosa (talk) 22:40, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree that external links should give some indication of what the link is and possibly why it is recommended. But I do not believe that external links are expected to conform to the same level of "reliable sources" that are used in the article. Putting these links into bibliographic format is so rare as to be contrary to established practice. I think you should reconsider. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:11, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
You're right. No need for external links to be "reliable sources". Per WP:EL: External links should identify the link and briefly summarize the website's contents and why the website is relevant to the article. This is the relevant guideline. My use of reference templates is unorthodox and the result probably looks slightly overdone.
However, before I cleaned up the section it looked like this:
This could be four blogs. The third link,, is dead, so I removed it. In none of these cases the target is "identified", there is no information on how old the information is and who produced it. Templates make the entire section more informative and hopefully new links will be added more thoughtfully. If nothing else, these templates will hopefully remind new contributors that the links should be relevant/directly related to the article. --Fama Clamosa (talk) 17:15, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I have no objection to the substantive changes you made. My objection is to your admittedly unorthodox use of the citation template in this context, which I say is inappropriate. (Secondarily, I would regard such a significant change of format something that should not be done without consensus of other editors.) If your changes were just formatting I would simply revert them, but I don't want to revert the substnative changes. So I ask: would you mind putting those links back into link form, not as links buried in a bibliographic citation? - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:21, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

-Are these videos and maps of continental drift worth including this article as external links?
 Paleogeographic Views of Earth's History provided by Ron Blakey, Professor of Geology, Northern Arizona University

Jcardazzi (talk) 14:42, 23 April 2015 (UTC)jcardazzi

The relevant questions would be 1) do they significantly add to the topic? and 2) do they so better than the existing links? It seems to me they don't; there are better depictions of how plate tectonics works. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:47, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Rejection of Wegener's theory[edit]

I think we should consider possibly expanding the "Rejection of Wegener's theory" section.

I initially added the section because 1) I had always wondered why something "so obvious" as continental drift had been rejected so long, 2) I had heard that it had been rejected on geophysical grounds, and 3) I stumbled upon the Scheidigger article that, as late as 1953, explicitly rejected Wegener's theory on geophysical grounds. My first clue of how woefully incomplete this is came when User talk:Chris.urs-o added some material. Subsequent review of material he provided, of the German article (see de:Kontinentaldrift, even if you don't read German), and other materials has convinced me that the current section is seriously deficient in its coverage of the topic. (And I strongly recommend reading Naomi Oreskes' short essay for a sense of the deficiency.)

Of course, there are many incomplete (even woefully so) articles on Wikipedia. The importance of this topic is that it seems to be increasingly culturally significant as another example, akin to the rejection of Galileo, of "the authorities got it wrong, again". I suspect that a careful, comprehensive, and well-articulated could be very interesting. But I also suspect that the rejection of Wegener warrants a separate article. And I begin to suspect that the rejection in the English-speaking community was largely separate from the rejection in the German-speaking community. Covering all this will require extensive research (hopefully the original research has been done, and requires only searching it out, digging it out, sorting it out, and presentation), and likely collaboration with our German colleagues.

Comments? - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:55, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

It seems tha USA, England, Germany and IAVCEI tackled this problem differently. Geophysicists "did not like" the idea of a continent plowing through a denser seafloor, and crusts moving and deforming in such a large scale... I believe that the Head of IAVCEI is the trendsetter on Volcanism, Continental drift, Seafloor spreading, Plate tectonics and Mantle dynamics... --Chris.urs-o (talk) 04:49, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

How about if those references were put into a section "For further study", or even just "Bibliography"? As I said above, I think the article falls way short of adequately covering the topic, and a good set of references might help people find what is not covered here.

It does seem like "The Rejection" took different forms and different bases in the different countries. But what were these differences? Could we start with just a simple list? - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:25, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, the books can be listed at "further reading. Do not worry, be bold. The Sysops and the editors will modify it if it is not good enough. I just listed because I do not have access to an english library.
  • Quotes: "Utter, damned rot!" said the president of the prestigious American Philosophical Society. "If we are to believe [this] hypothesis, we must forget everything we have learned in the last 70 years and start all over again," said another American scientist (Weiner 1986:16). Anyone who "valued his reputation for scientific sanity" would never dare support such a theory, said a British geologist.[6] Moreover, most of the blistering attacks were aimed at Wegener himself, an outsider who seemed to be attacking the very foundations of geology. [7] Ironically, though the lack of a credible driving force was the main objection to Wegener's theory, plate tectonics has been almost universally accepted despite the absence of scientific consensus as to its cause.
  • Naomi Oreskes, American problems (William Diller Matthew and George Gaylord Simpson): Pratt isostasy, the method of multiple working hypothesis, the uniformitarianism.
  • In England they made fun of the continental granite plowing through the denser oceanic basalt, and the missing driving force (Harold Jeffreys, geophysicist, fixist and contractionist; A. P. Coleman (climatologist and geologist) and C. P. E. Brooks(climatologist)). The fixists did not believe on the horizontal movement of the continents, the drifters did, the permanentists resorted on the changing sea-level.

--Chris.urs-o (talk) 05:55, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

The "sysops" are not involved here. (The system operators run the servers, and are not concerned with content on this level.) As to "the editors" – hey, that's us. (And it looks like it is just you and me, kid. I was hoping there would be others interested in this topic, but apparently not.) So it comes down to: if this is going to be done right, it is you and I that have to do it right. No slopping some shit over the wall and waiting for someone else to make it good. We (you and I) have to make it good. (And to paraphrase an old political joke: I have some doubts as to me.)
If we are to proceed (in improving this article, or rather, the coverage of this particular topic) I think we need some kind of overview of just what all is to be covered. For instance, you identified several quotes which serve to show the degree of resistance, and even aversion, to Wegener. But they do not show the actual scientific argument for rejecting "continental drift". So like I said above: could we start with a list of what the objections were? By country? - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:24, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
LOL. Well, some admin call themselves sysops... "The hypothesis of continental drift (1912-1929), evolved to seafloor spreading (around 1962), and more recently to the theory of plate tectonics (around 1967). Alfred Wegener based his publications on cartography, paleontology, glacial striations and old orogenic uplifts. But paleomagnetism, reflection seismology, sonar survey and gravity anomaly survey were needed to establish the hypothesis". There was no scientific argument to reject continental drift, but there was a lack of data. And Wegener did some serious mistakes on the driving force. With a PhD on Astronomy, the geophysicists made fun of him. And discarded the whole theory, wrongly. The rejection was based on no mercy, pride, and wanting to be famous... --Chris.urs-o (talk) 04:36, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Chris, I'm feeling some disconnection here. Both in your seeming inability to focus on particular points or considerations, and also in my increasing frustration in trying to work with you. Which is a shame, because I think you could make some contributions (which I could help organize and polish). Part of the problem here seems to be that when I say let's list the issues, you proceed to argue them; it seems you do not understand the difference between describing something and taking a position (arguing) about it. So if I proceed with any editing here it will likely be unilaterally, and likely we will be tromping on each other's edits. Do you have any suggestions for how we might avoid this? - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:21, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, sorry. I thought I listed all that I know. If you have a book about it, published between 2002 and 2010, would be helpful too. How about these line of thoughts involved:
  • Continental drifters: Alfred Wegener, Arthur Holmes, Alex du Toit and George C. Simpson.
  • USA: Pratt isostasy, the method of multiple working hypothesis, the uniformitarianism.
  • Germany: Alfred Rittmann (and IAVCEI), Mid-Atlantic Ridge is extension (geology) not orogenic uplift.
  • Contractionists: the Earth cools down and gets smaller.
  • Fixists: land-bridges.
  • Permanentists: no bridge, just changing sea-level.
  • Paleontology: George Gaylord Simpson developing William Diller Matthew's ideas: three migratory routes; corridors, filter bridges and sweepstakes routes.
  • Ironically, though the lack of a credible driving force was the main objection to Wegener's theory, plate tectonics has been almost universally accepted despite the absence of scientific consensus as to its cause.
  • Nowadays we know that isotasy is not reached at the subduction zones.
  • I'm not sure if W. D. Matthew is William Diller Matthew, and George C. Simpson is George Simpson (meteorologist). --Chris.urs-o (talk) 02:16, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
That could be a starting point. Let's continue this in your Sandbox. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:40, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Crystal Earth Hypothesis[edit]

Anyone ever heard of the crystal earth hypothesis? It was one of the early theories for continental drift. Basically some scientists thought the continents moved on a crystal subtrate via piezoelectric forces emanating from the planets interior. I can't recall who came up with the theory though. Anyone else ever heard of this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:29, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Additional notable contributors.[edit]

Just had the pleasure of re-reading Tuzo Wilson's article on plate tectonic theory in the April, 1963, Scientific American. (I suspect that article alone greatly contributed to the awareness and acceptance of plate tectonics.) It did make me think (bah!) that Alex Du Toit may have had a lot more influence than we credited him. Likewise for S. K. Runcorn, who had a book on "continental drift" in 1962. Anyone feel like these should be covered? - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:39, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

  • If u can improve it, why not? But remember...
  • Vening-Meinesz n Umbgrove knew a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
    • Hess admired Vening-Meinesz n could even work w him.
    • Umbgrove, J.H.F. (1947). The Pulse of the Earth (2 ed.). The Hague, NL: Martinus Nyhoff. p. 359. 
    • Vening Meinesz, F. A. (1959). "The results of the development of the Earth's topography in spherical harmonics up to the 31st order; provisional conclusions". Koninkl. Ned. Akad. van Wetenschappen Amsterdam. Proc. Ser. B., Phys. Sciences 62: 115–136. 
  • Wegener cites Argand n Staub. Ppl who knew the Alpine Orogeny accepted nappes, thrust faults (Glarus thrust n Karwendel thrust) n continental drift.
    • Argand, E. (1924). "La Tectonique de l'Asie". Extrait du Compte-rendu du XIIIe Congrès géologique international 1922 (Liège) 1 (5): 171–372. 
    • Argand, E. (1916). "Sur l'arc des Alps Occidentales". Eclogae geologicae Helveticae (Lausanne) 14: 145–192. 
    • Staub, R. (1924). "Der Bau der Alpen". Beitr. z. geolog. Karte der Schweiz, N. F. (Bern) 52: 272. 
    • Wegener, Alfred (1929). Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane (4 ed.). Braunschweig: Friedrich Vieweg & Sohn Akt. Ges. ISBN 3443010563. 
  • I got the impression that the "Ivy League" of the GSA, Germany n the Jeffreys' followers did not have the right field experience, and did not believe who had it.
    • Daly examined the rocks along a 400 miles stretch at the 49th parallel; Otto Ampferer (Geological Survey, Vienna) hiked a lot in the Alps; Wegener hiked in the Alps too w his brother n an Ordinarius for Geology n Paleontology (J. Blaas, Innsbruck); Holmes had experience in Mozanbique n Burma; n du Toit received a grant from the Carnegie Institution of Washington and used this to travel to eastern South America.
    • Insight, the physics of the arguments of the fixists were sound:
      • Continental granite does not plow through seafloor basalt like an icebreaker.
      • Polflucht n lunar gravity are secondary forces.
      • Mantle drag on the lithosphere is only relevant on back-arc basins.
      • but proving one driving force of plate tectonics wrong, does not prove continental drift wrong; n as the core generates heat, than there must be a mechanism to get this heat to the surface.
  • So slab pull n "ridge slide" r relevant.
  • --Chris.urs-o (talk) 05:29, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
That doesn't really address my question, of whether anyone feels Du Toit, and possibly Runcorn, should be mentioned. I would not simply add them (or anyone else) willy-nilly, lest the article become little more than a collection of unintegrated facts. I am thinking that any expansion should be guided by two or three secondary sources, to get the overall outline and balance right. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:10, 30 October 2010 (UTC)


Given the constant stream of vandalism, nearly all by anonymous accounts, is it time semi-protect this article? - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:44, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Land drifting in various places[edit]

The north cordilleran volcanic rift in the rocky mountains is one example. 1 inch per year, the western portion of the rift moves west.

Also, in Louisiana and New Orleans the land is noticeably moving (NMSZ).

All of these movements, I believe are a result of an E.T. impact 23,000 years ago(Hudson Bay), and another one about 4-6000 years ago(Iles De La Madeleine) and fault related.

This is how our continents were shaped, in my perspective. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:51, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

So? Please note that Wikipedia is not a not a soapbox for your personal beliefs. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:55, 8 February 2011 (UTC)


I reverted the last change because, though the original is not wholly satisfactory, the change didn't seem much better. It seems to me that there is a subtle point here, that "continental drift" is a failed theory, that it is not a valid theory (explanation) that was erroneously rejected, but that it was incomplete theory. It explained certain observations by asserting that the continents moved, but failed to explain how or why. The "old fuddy-duddies" that rejected it therefore were not simply recalcitrant, nor wrong in rejecting it, and I think we should explain that. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:36, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

GPS measurements, and epistemology[edit]

I reverted a recent addition referring to GPS measurements of continental drift because it was 1) not well placed, 2) not really relevant to either Wegener's development of the theory nor its rejection, and 3) poorly sourced. (Also because 4) I don't think every little crumb of an interesting fact found in the popular media should be tacked willy-nilly onto an article.)

I think it necessary to point out that the initial rejection and eventual vindication of the theory occurred prior to the development of GPS, so it wasn't relevant. There is a tendency to scorn those who authoritatively reject theories later shown to be true (or the reverse), but this is facile. The simple "fact" that continents do move (which is not the same as "drift"!), that learned authority was wrong at one point (but right at at another) adds little to our understanding. More useful, and more interesting, is why they got it wrong (or right). In this case, the learned gentlemen tried to decide the issue without benefit of GPS (and totally lacking any idea that something like GPS is even possible). This is of potential interest because of its relevance to many current situations where we (or "they") are trying to decide matters with incomplete information. _ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:07, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the reasoning behind your revert. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:49, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Questionable edits[edit]

Pol098: some of your recent edits are okay, but others are questionable. (Such as a statement not supported by the reference, and an apparent desire to comment on plate tectonics. I point out that this article is not about plate tectonics as such, but only as a successor theory.) I would revert some of the dubious edits, but they are too entangled. I am considering restoring to an earlier version, which of course would wipe all of your edits, good and bad. Please propose your changes on the talk page so we can discuss them and resolve any problems beforehand. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:53, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Just looked at the recent history of the article and don't see where the "too entangled" edits remain. Seems the remaining edits by Pol098 remain as two refs added to the lead, a reasonable edit in "evidence for..." and a bit of rewording in the "rejection" section. No need for a wholesale revert. Vsmith (talk) 23:51, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps not impossibly entangled, but determining how to undo just the dubious edits looks to be more trouble and time than I want expend. Easier to revert all, then put in the good edits.
And I do question the several edits about plate tectonics, and particularly Gould's comment. Plate tectonics needs to be mentioned as it is the successor theory, but this article is about continental drift. There seems to be an element of coatracking here. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:41, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

‎Cadiomals: I wonder about your recent addition to the intro. For purpose of introduction I think it is sufficient to note that the theory of continental drift has been superseded, and even by what, but the details of why I think are best left for later. What do you think? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:27, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Violetstar10: I am going to remove your recent edit because 1) it does not really fit where you have inserted it, 2) is not really explained (out of context), and 3) lacks a cited source. Ask if you have any questions. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:03, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Fragments of ancient continent buried under Indian Ocean[edit] -- 17:25, 25 February 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

continental drift vs plate tectonics[edit]

is it right to say continental drift has been "superseded" by plate tectonics, which better explains why the continents move? that's what the opening says. i think continental drift didn't explain why at all, and plate tectonics supports and devlops continental drift. like genetics supports and develops natural selection.

User:Beyondallmeaning (who added the above): see your user page, and don't forget to sign your comments.
You are correct in that the theory of continental drift was largely just an observation, and did not explain the "why" or "how". For that reason was not fully acceptable. And, strictly speaking, it is still wrong, as continents (plates) do not "drift" in the sense of aimless wandering: they are pushed. (Or pulled, there is some debate on the matter.) Plate tectonic theory does explain the why and how of all this, and therefore it does supersede the theory of continental drift. Perhaps this is not adequately explained in the article? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:12, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
The theory of continental drift is true. So, it is strange to say it has been superceded. It has been further developed and explained. Beyondallmeaning (talk) 14:43, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
  Newton's theory of gravity is "true" also (as far as it goes), but is also superseded by Einstein's theory of relativity. The theory of continental drift explains certain geographical and biological observations as due to motion of the continents. But as I just explained (please pay attention), it does not explain the "why" or "how" continents "drift". Plate tectonic theory does. Note that "superseded" does not mean "disproven", only that one theory has been displaced by a better, fuller theory. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:36, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Continental drift has not been displaced. The continents move, and because of plate tectonics we know how. It's not like Newton and Einstein: Newton's theory is actually wrong in certain cases. Continental drift is not wrong in certain cases. A better analogy is natural selection and genetics. Natural selection is true, and explained by genetics. Beyondallmeaning (talk) 21:34, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Anyway, I'd like to change this sentence: "The theory of continental drift was superseded by the theory of plate tectonics, which builds upon and better explains why the continents move." It is syntactically poor, "builds upong and explains why" isn't parallel construction. More importantly, it implies continental drift explained why the continents moved. Wegener had various theories, but they weren't part of continental drift theory. Beyondallmeaning (talk) 21:37, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Show us your proposed alternative. But please note: no one is saying the "theory of continental drift" was wrong, only that it was incomplete. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:56, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Alternative: "Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, continental drift was not accepted by most geologists since there was no plausible explanation as to why the continents move. In the 1960s, the new plate tectonics theory explained this motion, and continental drift has been widely accepted since." Ego White Tray (talk) 02:52, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

I don't see any source for "superseded" and it contradicts what the article later says, namely that the theory was vindicated: "Rejection of Wegener's theory, and subsequent vindication". It can't be superceded and vindicated at the same time. Beyondallmeaning (talk) 04:24, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

The "superseded/vindicated" distinction depends on which facet of continental drift you're looking at. I regret I have not been able to give this as much time needed to explain it (I'm pretty busy at the moment) but have patience, I'll try to get to this in a week or two. (When the rain drives me out of the woods.) It might be a good time to review the whole article. As we may have three or four editors possibly interested in this I think it would be good to identify several top-level reliable sources that we can refer to. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:33, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
For the information of the editors working on this article, user Beyondallmeaning was a sockpuppet of an indefinitely blocked user and has also been indefinitely blocked [8]. They should not have made any edits at all so all their comments may be disregarded.Smeat75 (talk) 13:30, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

EWT: I thank you for your attempt to clarify the point, but you are proceeding from an incorrect position. The key point is that the theory of plate tectonics does not "fix" the theory of continental drift. The theory of drift attempts to explain certain observations (such as parallel coast lines, paleofauna distributions, etc.) by positing that the continents have moved; it does not explain why they moved. Plate tectonics explains why. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:45, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

I thought that's exactly what I said - "In the 1960s, the plate tectonics theory explained this motion" - doesn't that say exactly what you're saying above? Ego White Tray (talk) 02:20, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

  No, not exactly. As a minor quibble, your edit got too much detail into the explanation ("since there was ..."); the lead is supposed to summarize what is covered in detail in the rest of the article. But the main problem (as I see it) is the affirmation of continental drift being "widely accepted ever since." For sure, there is no question but that the tectonic plates move. In that regard the "drifters" might feel some vindication. But this is not quite same thing: the continents (plates) most certainly do not drift. They are (like Humpty Dumpty?) pushed. This theory was incomplete, and, by itself, is still incomplete.   Does cessation of opposition imply acceptance? I don't think so. But what you might do is look around for competent sources that do say so. I suggest starting with Naomi Oreskes, who has several papers accessible to non-specialists. I would also suggest searching on Google Scholar. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:28, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

I would say your entire argument above is based on a strict definition of drift that is rarely used in real life. You seem to assume that drift means to float, or something similar. I interpret the word as meaning to gradually move over time. That is the heart of continental drift, that continents slowly, and I've never understood continental drift as explicitly saying continents float. So, with the understanding that continental drift is a theory that continents do move and a theory that never provided an explanation why.
I also wouldn't say that I used excessive detail. A scientific theory's acceptance or rejection is a very fundamental aspect of any scientific theory, and should absolutely be mentioned in the lead section, especially a theory like this that was proposed, rejected for a long time, and finally vindicated by a more complete theory that agrees with its basic point.
That said, "incomplete" I think is hitting the nail on the head as to what we should say. Something about how continental drift was an incomplete theory as it was unable to explain why the continents move, a theory that was then supplemented (not superceded) by plate tectonics. Ego White Tray (talk) 02:58, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
  How you interpret "drift" is rather beside the point. And in fact the continents do float (read up on isostasy) — that is an explicit element of plate tectonics. That you have "never understood" this is all the more reason you really should study up on the topic, as I have previously suggested.
   You are also confusing the idea that continents "drift" with the theory of continental drift, particularly the theory proposed by Wegener. The idea is now (to use Oreskes' term) subsumed into plate tectonics. But even though the theory was subsequently shown to be factually correct (as far as it went), as a theory it not only was incomplete, it still is incomplete, because it was never revised in light of plate tectonics.
  We could go with "subsumed", based on Oreskes. (As a little study will quickly reveal the source I leave the citation as an exercise for you.) To go with "supplemented" you need find some competent authority supporting that. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:44, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

As no one else seems up to it, I am considering some changes, including clarification of the idea of continental "drift" from Wegner's theory, changing "superseded" to "subsumed" (plus citation), and revising the section header to remove "vindication", as there is no source on that point. Objections? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:52, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Done. I also did some research and found the source of Oreskes' "Continental drift" article — it was a contribution to the Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change — and added a proper citation. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:29, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure how the Oreskes citation supports the changes you have made. Her conclusion is:
"The problem with continental drift was not a lack of evidence, nor a lack of causal explanation. The evidence presented by Wegener and du Toit has been largely confirmed by global plate tectonics, and Holmes’s causal account—mantle convection—is now generally accepted as the cause of plate tectonics. The problem with continental drift was a conflict with prior intellectual commitments. "
In other words the fault was with the critics not the proposers. Wegener didn't propose a mechanism, but Holmes did and it was basically the right one (though he didn't get the detail of subsumpduction right). But it was the new evidence from seafloor studies that swept away the objections. Chris55 (talk) 17:31, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
The pertinent text from Oreskes (2002) is: "Continental drift is now subsumed into global plate tectonics...." This supports only the last sentence of the lead. You are thinking of the previous sentence, about the rejection of Wegner's theory, which I disentangled from the last sentence. In that respect your comments are quite appropriate. Basically, there is the conventional view of why Wegener was rejected ("no driving force"), and there is Oreskes' alternate view (intellectual differences). I think the section in the article about this should be split into two subsections to mention both of these, but I haven't had the time. Perhaps you would like to take a swing at it? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:07, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Ok, I've tried to do that. Chris55 (talk) 12:06, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to see a better word than subsumed, which is not a word people really use very often, and a lot of our readers have probably never heard the word before. Maybe continental drift is included or incorporated in plate tectonics? Or, simply, part of plate tectonics. Ego White Tray (talk) 15:11, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
  EWT: "subsume" is a perfectly good word. If you or anyone else is not familiar with it it is trivial to find a definition ("to include or place within something larger or more comprehensive"), thereby enhancing your educational experience. Which is what Wikipedia exists for, right? As to whether it is the right word: I will skip over any detailed explanation to note that it is the word Oreskes uses.
  Chris: a decent start, but I would suggest that in the lead it is sufficient to summarily note only that Wegener's theory was rejected. The details are better placed in the appropriate section. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:09, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
I'd be happy to expand it, but since the fate of the concept is what is causing much of the discussion here I think it's important to say more rather than less in the lead. Wegener did produce palaeontological evidence but had no geological expertise which is why the experts were able to discount it initially. It seems that after that, prejudice ruled for a long time - having dismissed it, the experts weren't going to change their mind without overwhelming evidence. The lead doesn't give much here. As for 'subsumed', one could say something like 'has become part of' the theory... Chris55 (talk) 13:42, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

No, it is not necessary (nor useful) to "say more" in the lead. Especially, it is not necessary to make any explanation in the lead: it is a summary. It is fine to anticipate the ending ("Wegener's theory was rejected"), but the lead is not the right place for a blow-by-blow account of why.

I suspect that you are right in that much of the interest in this topic is "the fate of the concept", and particularly the notion that "Wegener got it right and no one believed him!" (Which seems to draw back to the "you can't trust scientists", etc., theme.) In that about a third of the article is about "Rejection of Wegener's theory" (and likely to be half or more if we include Oreskes' alternate view), I think it needs to be asked: is this article primarily about

1) the concept of continental drift?
2) Wegener's theory of continental drift? or
3) the rejection of Wegener's theory?

Each of these could be an article in itself, but the focus and coverage of the article should correspond with the name. Possibly this article needs to be split?

As to subsumed: there is a concept here that people seem to be having a little difficulty grasping. The concept of continental drift has different relationship to Wegener's theory than to plate tectonic theory. In brief, Wegener pushed the concept in order to explain all these oddities of evidence; his explanation is based on the concept. On the other hand, plate tectonic theory has an entirely different basis: the concept of "drift" arises out of the theory as a consequence. The idea of continental drift gets sucked into plate tectonic theory, but it is not "part of" it. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:12, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Re Akasofu?[edit]

Note: please click on the "New section" tab to start a new discussion. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:29, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

The concept had explanatory capability.-- (talk) 18:41, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Presumably you are referring to the concept of Continental drift (?). Of course it had explanatory power. As no one disputes that I don't see the point of your comment.
As long as we are here let's take a moment to discuss your addition (twice) of Akasofu's quote. Per the policy of WP:V all quotations must be given a source, which you have not done. But even if you should, there is a quotation of notability: that discussion of Wegener was not allowed in classrooms is already established by the existing quotation. There is no need of an additional quotation, especially from someone not notable in this context. Indeed, it appears to me you want the quote here only provide another link back to Akasofu's page (where you inserted essentially the same material), a practice we call WP:COATRACKing. This is not acceptable. Please refrain from adding this material, unless and until you can show that there is some point for adding it. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:29, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
How can Akasofu be non-notable in this context when he is geophysicist unlike Attenborough who is not and Akasofu's recount should be given more weight due to professional deference?-- (talk) 22:00, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Very easily, as notability does not depend on professional deference. That Akasofu is a geophysicist hardly matters; his professional expertise seems to be entirely on auroras. The history of his article (which looks like self-promotion) suggests that (outside of auroras) his only notability is being one of the "700 scientists" cited in the Morano Report allegedly debunking "Man-Made Global Warming Claims". At any rate, all of that doesn't matter if you can't a source to cite. Find a source, then we can talk about it. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:13, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Akasofu and citation needed[edit]

I see that an editor keeps reverting a recollection similar to that of Attenborough of a geophysicist Akasofu about the forbidden mentioning in specialty classes of Wegener hypothesis under the impression of nonnotability. His recount is more relevant being a geophysicist. As for unsourced quote citation needed could be used instead of reversion. (talk) 21:44, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

It is simply redundant, Attenborough has name recognition. And if a quote is used, as in the Akasofu article - it must have a reference. Vsmith (talk) 01:45, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

A revisionist history of continental drift[edit]

There is now startling new material that should be incorporated into this article. Not getting the drift: a hard look at the early history of plate tectonic ideas by Allan Krill, professor of geology in Norway. This pdf book is available for free download at [9] It documents previously unknown models of continental drift from 1844 and 1861. It also documents how the world's leading paleogeographer Professor Charles Schuchert and his colleagues at Yale University were key players in keeping continental drift from being accepted. They understood that continental drift was largely correct, but manipulated maps, figures, and descriptions to hide and discredit evidence in support of it. (talk) 11:10, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

It is nothing new and certainly not startling that Wegener's theory of continental drift was rejected by many leading geologists, and in part on incorrect reasoning. So it is unclear what this new book offers that should be in the article. By the way, to judge by the e-mail address I have just deleted it appears that you are the author. Please note that it is a WP:conflict of interest for you to promote this book. If there is new and startling material in this book it will need to be assessed by others. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:52, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Proposal to establish a consistent citation "style"[edit]

New user VexorAbVikipædia please note: you need to conform to the existing citation style (see WP:CITEVAR). Particularly, please do not manually format citations. But in light of the question I am about to raise it would be best if you temporarily suspend editing this article until we clarify just what the citation style should be.

Everyone: the citations in this article are getting inconsistent. Before attempting to "fix" anything, I propose that we establish a standard style here, and specifically as follows: full citations implemented with {{citation}} or {{cite xxx}} templates in a dedicated "References" section, with short cites implemented with {{harv}} templates in the text. If this is acceptable I will even do the conversion/cleanup. Comments? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:55, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Well, this is very sad news indeed. I was just about to add some interesting information about Frank Bursley Taylor: in 1908, he recognized that the mid-Atlantic ridge was located atop a gigantic rift in the ocean's floor, from which the continents on either side were separating. He was 50 years ahead of his time. Anyway, about your proposal: I don't like these standardized formats because references are more varied in nature than any format can accommodate. The formats are adequate for many books and journals, but many technical books are compilations of articles that are contributed by many authors, from which only on article is cited. There's also the problem of citing Ph.D. theses. The list goes on. That's why I still manually format citations. Furthermore, I don't see why the format matters. I doubt that it matters to the reader. Anyway, that's my 2¢. VexorAbVikipædia (talk) 02:09, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Whether you like "standardized formats" (or not) is rather beside the point: it is a well established WP rule — the one we call WP:CITEVAR — that citations should be consistent within each article. While many readers do not care (because they do not check the references), yet many do care, as well as most editors. Keep in mind that fundamental to such credibility as WP has is the key principal of WP:Verifiability: that "[r]eaders must be able to check that Wikipedia articles are just made up." [Emphasis added.] This requires that citations be not merely present, but clear and error-free. Format matters, as citations (all styles) are typically informaton dense, and rely on various conventions (e.g.: italicizing titles of books, but quoting titles of articles) to convey some of that information. Consistency is necessary to avoid ambiguity and confusion. This is a settled point. The question is solely of establishing the standard or style to which this article should be consistent.
Your objections to using citation templates show a lack of awareness of just how versatile they are. I have used many odd sources, and never seen a case where manually formatting a citation was advantageous. (Ask if you need assistance for any particular case.) Using a template provides explicit information (such as identifying "first" names, surnames, and compound names), and saves you (and subsequent editors) from the hassle of having to get all of the nit-picking formatting details just right. You really should consider it. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:37, 18 February 2015 (UTC)