10 Interesting Facts about Alfred Wegener

One of these following facts about Alfred Wegener should probably provide you much interesting information you might want to read. Alfred Wegener was a German polar researcher, geophysicist and meteorologist. During his lifetime he was primarily known for his achievements in meteorology and as a pioneer of polar research, but today he is most remembered for advancing the theory of continental drift in 1912, which hypothesized that the continents were slowly drifting around the Earth. Furthermore, to get to know more about him, here are some other facts about Alfred Wegener you might be interested in.

Facts about Alfred Wegener 1: Hypothesis

His hypothesis was controversial and not widely accepted until the 1950s, when numerous discoveries such as palaemagnetism provided strong support for continental drift, and thereby a substantial basis for today’s model of Plate tectonics.

Facts about Alfred Wegener 2: Expedition

Wegener was involved in several expeditions to Greenland to study polar air circulation before the existence of the jet stream was accepted. Expedition participants made many meteorological observations and achieved the first-ever overwintering on the inland Greenland ice sheet as well as the first-ever boring of ice cores on a moving Arctic glacier.

Facts about Alfred Wegener - Alfred Wegener

Facts about Alfred Wegener – Alfred Wegener

Facts about Alfred Wegener 3: Continental Drift

On 6 January 1912 he publicized his first thoughts about continental drift in a lecture at a session of the Geologischen Vereinigung at the Senckenberg-Museum, Frankfurt am Main and in three articles in the journal Petermanns Geographischen Mitteilungen.

Facts about Alfred Wegener 4: Second Greenland Expedition

The Danish expedition leader, Johan Peter Koch, broke his leg when he fell into a glacier crevasse and spent months recovering in a sickbed. Wegener and Koch were the first to winter on the inland ice in northeast Greenland.Inside their hut they drilled to a depth of 25 m with an auger. In summer 1913 the team crossed the inland ice, the four expedition participants covering a distance twice as long as Fridtjof Nansen’s southern Greenland crossing in 1888.

Facts about Alfred Wegener - Commemoration plaque

Facts about Alfred Wegener – Commemoration plaque

Facts about Alfred Wegener 5: World War I

As an infantry reserve officer Wegener was immediately called up when war began in 1914. On the war front in Belgium he experienced fierce fighting but his term lasted only a few months: after being wounded twice he was declared unfit for active service and assigned to the army weather service. This activity required him to travel constantly between various weather stations in Germany, on the Balkans, on the Western Front and in the Baltic region.

Facts about Alfred Wegener 6: University of Hamburg

In 1921 he was appointed senior lecturer at the new University of Hamburg. From 1919 to 1923 Wegener worked on Die Klimate der geologischen Vorzeit (“The Climates of the Geological Past”), published together with his father-in-law, Wladimar Köppen.

Facts about Alfred Wegener - Vehicle used for expedition

Facts about Alfred Wegener – Vehicle used for expedition

Facts about Alfred Wegener 7: Continental Drift Theory Presentation

In November 1926 Wegener presented his continental drift theory at a symposium of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in New York City, again earning rejection from everyone but the chairman. Three years later the fourth and final expanded edition of “The Origin of Continents and Oceans” appeared.

Facts about Alfred Wegener 8: Last Greenland Expedition

Wegener’s last Greenland expedition was in 1930. The 14 participants under his leadership were to establish three permanent stations from which the thickness of the Greenland ice sheet could be measured and year-round Arctic weather observations made. Wegener felt personally responsible for the expedition’s success, as the German government had contributed $120,000 ($1.5 million in 2007 dollars).

Facts about Alfred Wegener - Wegener during expedition

Facts about Alfred Wegener – Wegener during expedition

Facts about Alfred Wegener 9: Honors and Awards

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, was established in 1980 on his centenary. It awards the Wegener Medal in his name. The crater Wegener on the Moon and the crater Wegener on Mars, as well as the asteroid 29227 Wegener and the peninsula where he died in Greenland are named after him.

Facts about Alfred Wegener 10: Death

On May 12, 1931, Wegener’s body was found halfway between Eismitte and West camp. It had been buried (by Villumsen) with great care and a pair of skis marked the grave site. Wegener had been fifty years of age and a heavy smoker and it was believed that he had died of heart failure brought on by overexertion.

Facts about Alfred Wegener - Wegener fossil map

Facts about Alfred Wegener – Wegener fossil map

Hope you would find those Alfred Wegener facts really interesting, useful and helpful for your additional reading.



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