Geology. the lateral movement of continents resulting from the motion of crustal plates.
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- Compare plate tectonics.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use continental drift in a sentence
Such exotic mineral compositions might affect, for example, volcanic eruptions, continental drift and the fraction of a planet’s surface that consists of oceans versus continents.Distant rocky planets may have exotic chemical makeups that don’t resemble Earth’s | Ken Croswell | November 16, 2021 | Science News
Further work over the next few years showed that continental drift was a symptom of elaborate mechanisms inside the Earth that came to be known as plate tectonics.The Top 10 scientific surprises of Science News’ first 100 years | Tom Siegfried | September 20, 2021 | Science News
The Earth of the Mesozoic Era is hot and wet until its final act—the Late Cretaceous—ushers a colder, dryer climate, continental drift, and falling sea levels.Carbon, It’s Elementary, Dear Reader - Issue 99: Universality | John Barnett | April 14, 2021 | Nautilus
When the geologist Alfred Wegener first proposed the theory of continental drift in 1912, most of his colleagues thought it was preposterous.Scientists Pin Down When Earth’s Crust Cracked, Then Came to Life | Howard Lee | March 25, 2021 | Quanta Magazine
If the theory of continental drift was correct, there might not even be an American continent, it might still be joined to Europe.The Lost Warship | Robert Moore Williams
British Dictionary definitions for continental drift
geology the theory that the earth's continents move gradually over the surface of the planet on a substratum of magma. The present-day configuration of the continents is thought to be the result of the fragmentation of a single landmass, Pangaea, that existed 200 million years ago: See also plate tectonics
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Scientific definitions for continental drift
A theory stating that the Earth's continents have been joined together and have moved away from each other at different times in the Earth's history. The theory was first proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912. While his general idea of continental movement eventually became widely accepted, his explanation for the mechanism of the movement has been supplanted by the theory of plant tectonics. See more at plate tectonics.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for continental drift
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.