Geology. the lateral movement of continents resulting from the motion of crustal plates.
(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

1925, a translation of German Kontinentalverschiebung, proposed 1912 by German scientist Alfred Wegener (1880-1930); the theory was not widely accepted until after c.1950.
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.

A term, no longer used by geologists, that refers to the fact that continents are not stationary, but move across the Earth’s surface. Continental drift is one feature of the modern theory of plate tectonics. (See Pangaea.)

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