When I was a student at the University of Sheffield in the 1950s, Alfred Wegener’s theory of Continental Drift did gain occasional mention by professors, both in the Department of Geology and the Department of Geography. Though the latter, under David L. Linton, was very much concerned with physical geography, the theory was not taken seriously in either Department. Rather, it was derided, and the doctrine of the permanence of continents and ocean basins proclaimed almost as dogma. Philip Lake’s two critical essays of 1922 and 1926 had proved extremely influential; his judgement that Wegener had suggested much, but proved...

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