250 million years ago you could travel from South America to Africa in a single step. At this time most of the world’s landmass was joined together forming a supercontinent Pangea. the idea that they’d once been a supercontinent was first published in 1912 by German meteorologist Alfred Wegener. he proposed that the Earth’s landmasses was slowly moving apart a theory which he called Continental Drift.
Wegener’s radical theory wasn’t widely accepted at first because he couldn’t suggest a convincing mechanism for continental drift. however he did have supporting evidence, he observed how the landmasses of South America and Africa seemed to fit together perfectly like a jigsaw, and matching fossils were found on these coastlines even though today they’re separated by vast oceans. as a result of further scientific breakthroughs during the 20th century, we now know that all the continents are constantly moving at about the same speed as your fingernails grow.
The continents are part of great slabs of rock called tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s crust, these plates shift as new rock forms or sinks towards the Earth’s molten core. the tectonic plates formed when the Earth’s outer crust solidified more than four billion years ago not long after the planet was formed and they’ve been constantly on the move since.
land that now lies in the northern hemisphere but has once been covered by lush equatorial rainforests or sweeping deserts, and the seven continents as we know them today have been in roughly the same position for millions of years but in another 250 million years time Earth’s surface will look very different.