from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The movement, formation, or re-formation of continents described by the theory of plate tectonics.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The slow movement of continents explained by plate tectonics.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- the movements of continents relative to each other across the Earth's surface; see plate tectonics.
- n. the very slow (ca. 1-5 cm per year) movement of the continents and parts of continents relative to each other and to the points of upwelling of magma in the viscous layers beneath the continents; -- causing, for example, the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean by the movement of Africa and South America away from each other. See also plate tectonics.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the gradual movement and formation of continents (as described by plate tectonics)
Sorry, no etymologies found.
To revert to the terminology of Chapter 1, the morphing of Wegener’s hypothesis of continental drift into the modern theory of plate tectonics is a textbook example of the solidification of a tentative hypothesis into a universally accepted theorum or fact.
Far-sighted and imaginative as Wegener was, I must make it clear that his hypothesis of continental drift was significantly different from our modern theory of plate tectonics.
Wegener's theory of continental drift was corroborated by fossils and satellite photographs.
But the walking-ratite scenario was befuddling for biogeographers of earlier generations, before continental drift theory had been developed and accepted.