O&G Members Banner

On This Day

On This Day in Oil & Gas: November 1st - Alfred Lothar Wegener

Posted: 02/17/2014
Rate this Column: 
Be the first!

November 1st 1880, Berlin, German Empire – A fifth and final child is born to theologian, classics teacher and orphanage director Richard Wegener and his wife, Anna.

As a youngster, Alfred Lothar Wegener would take an interest in the sciences and go on to study astronomy at the University of Berlin. Whilst completing his PhD, he would become interested in paleoclimatology and made the first of four journeys into the savage landscape of Greenland to study polar weather.

At the outbreak of World War I, Wegener enlisted for the Kaiser’s army and was wounded twice in the line of duty. During his recuperative period in 1915, Wegener published The Origin of Continents and Oceans, in which he presented extensive evidence that all of the Earth's continents were at one time connected in a landmass he called Urkontinent , now known by the Greek Pangaea. He also proposed the first theory of continental drift (Kontinentalverschiebung) to explain the current location of the Earth’s landforms. This was tantamount to geological sacrilege.

What has this got to do with oil and gas? Well, when Pangaea began separating into South America and Africa some 90 million years ago, the Earth may have left huge oil and gas deposits along the coastlines where they had previously been united. Good work from the heretical pastor’s son!

P.S. For an audio visual representation of contintental drift watch this video


_______________________________

LEARN MORE:

Have Your Say
Rate this feature and give us your feedback in the comments section below