Alfred Wegener

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Alfred Wegener around 1925

Alfred Lothar Wegener (born November 1, 1880 in Berlin ; † November 1930 in Greenland ) was a German meteorologist and polar and geoscientist . His most important contribution to science is his theory of continental drift , which was only recognized posthumously , and which has become an essential basis for today's model of plate tectonics . During his lifetime, Wegener was best known for his services in meteorology and as a pioneer of polar research.


Alfred Wegener 1910

Early years

Memorial plaque from 1980, Berlin

Alfred Lothar Wegener was the youngest of five children in a pastor's family. His father was Richard Wegener, theologian and teacher of ancient languages ​​at the Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster in Berlin. Wegener was a cousin of the actor Paul Wegener .

The love for nature was probably awakened in the children when the director's house of the old glassworks in Zechlinerhütte near Rheinsberg was acquired as a holiday home in 1886 and later used as the family residence. This house is still used today as a residential building. A tourist information office and the Alfred Wegener memorial can be found in the old school of the town. Wegener attended the former Kölln high school on Wallstrasse, which he graduated as the best in his class. He then studied physics , meteorology and astronomy in Berlin, Heidelberg and Innsbruck from 1899 to 1904 . From 1902 to 1903, Wegener was an assistant at the Urania public observatory in Berlin during his studies . He wrote his doctoral thesis at Berlin University in 1905 in astronomy (under the supervision of Julius Bauschinger ), but then turned more to meteorology and physics. In his opinion, there was not much left to research in astronomy, and he was also bothered by the fact that an astronomer is strongly tied to his place of observation.

In 1905 Wegener became an assistant at the Lindenberg Aeronautical Observatory near Beeskow . He worked there with his two years older brother Kurt , who was also a scientist and with whom he shared an interest in meteorology and polar research. During a balloon ascent, which served meteorological observations and the testing of astronomical location determination with the dragonfly quadrant, the Wegener brothers set a new record for balloonists from April 5 to 7, 1906 with 52.5 hours.

First trip to Greenland

The Danmark Expedition crew, Wegener in the back row, 2nd from the right

In the same year Alfred Wegener took on the first of four Greenland - expeditions part. Wegener himself considered this decision to be one of the most important turning points in his life. The mission of the expedition, led by the Dane Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen , was to explore the last unknown stretch of the Northeast coast of Greenland. Wegener built the first meteorological station in Greenland near Danmarkshavn , where he let kites and tethered balloons soar for meteorological measurements in the arctic climate. He took part in sleigh journeys that took him to 81 ° north. Wegener also made his first acquaintance with death in the ice: the expedition leader and two companions were killed on an exploration trip to the NE coast of Greenland in a dog sled .

Marburg years

After his return in 1908, Alfred Wegener was a private lecturer in meteorology, practical astronomy and cosmic physics in Marburg until the outbreak of the First World War . In 1909 he was actively involved in the founding of the Kurhessischer Verein für Luftfahrt , where, as a balloon pilot , he carried out meteorological measurements, for example for reflection. In 1909/10 he worked on his book Thermodynamics of the Atmosphere , in which he also used numerous results of the Greenland expedition. Wegener's students and staff in Marburg particularly valued his talent for conveying even complex questions and current research results in a clear and understandable manner, without foregoing accuracy. These years belong to the most important creative periods of Wegener's. On January 6, 1912, he presented his first thoughts on continental drift to the public. In 1911 he got engaged to Else Köppen (1892–1992), who became his wife two years later.

Second Greenland Tour

Wegener in the winter of 1912/13, Greenland

Before the wedding, Wegener took part in a second Greenland expedition. After a stopover in Iceland , where the ponies were bought and tested to transport loads, the expedition returned to Danmarkshavn. Before the ascent to the ice sheet had even begun, the expedition was nearly wiped out by the calving of a glacier . When falling into a crevasse, the Danish expedition leader Johan Peter Koch broke his lower leg and had to look after the sick bed for months. Otherwise, the first hibernation ever undertaken on the inland ice went without incident. The expedition participants carried out the first ice drilling on a moving glacier in the Arctic and made many meteorological observations.

In the summer of 1913 they crossed the inland ice, on which the four expedition members covered twice as long a distance as Fridtjof Nansen once did when crossing South Greenland in 1888. Only a few kilometers from the West Greenland settlement of Kangersuatsiaq , the small group ran out of food in the impassable glacier breaks , even the beloved dog was eaten. At the last moment, however, they were picked up on a fjord by the Pastor of Upernavik , who was visiting a remote church.

After his return, Else Köppen married. She was the daughter of Wegener's former teacher and mentor, the meteorologist Wladimir Köppen . The young couple moved to Marburg, where Wegener resumed his private lectureship.

The marriage had three daughters: Hilde (1914–1936) and Sophie Käte (1918–2012) were born in Marburg, Hanna Charlotte ( Lotte , 1920–1989) in Hamburg. Lotte married the famous mountaineer Heinrich Harrer in 1938 , from whom she divorced after a few years. In 1939 Käte married the Gauleiter of Styria , Sigfried Uiberreither .

First World War

As a reserve officer of the infantry, Wegener was drafted immediately at the beginning of the war in 1914. His war deployment on the front in Belgium was associated with fierce fighting, but only lasted a few months, as he was written unfit for military service after being wounded twice. Then he was assigned to the Army Weather Service. This activity required constant traveling between the various weather stations in Germany, the Balkans, the Western Front and the Baltic States.

Nevertheless, in 1915 he prepared the first version of his major work The Origin of the Continents and Oceans . As his brother Kurt remarked, Alfred Wegener was interested in "reestablishing the connection between geophysics on the one hand and geography and geology on the other, which had been completely torn off by the specialized development of these branches of science".

The general interest in the ribbon was, however, also because of the prevailing chaos of war, little. By the end of the war, Wegener published almost 20 other meteorological and geophysical works, in which he repeatedly ventured into new scientific territory. In 1917 he scientifically investigated the Treysa meteorite .

post war period

After the war, Wegener moved to Hamburg with his wife and two daughters , where he worked as a meteorologist for the Deutsche Seewarte . In 1921 he was appointed associate professor at the newly founded University of Hamburg .

From 1919 to 1923 Wegener worked on his book The Climates of Geological Prehistory , in which he tried to systematize the new branch of science of paleoclimatology as part of his theory of continental drift, and which he published together with his father-in-law.

In 1920 the second, and in 1922 the third, completely revised edition of The Creation of the Continents and Oceans appeared . During this time the discussion about his displacement theory began, initially only in German-speaking countries, then also internationally. The criticism in the professional world was mostly devastating. It is noteworthy, however, that Otto Hahn already wrote in his monograph What does radioactivity teach us about the history of the earth? , which was published in 1926 by Springer Verlag , fully confirmed Wegener's theory.

Wegener had good prospects of being appointed professor of meteorology at the Berlin Friedrich Wilhelms University . This would have been linked to the management of the Prussian Meteorological Institute - and thus a wealth of administrative tasks that would have kept him from research and which he dreaded: "He wanted to be a professor, but not a professor with an institute." this goal: He received the chair for meteorology and geophysics in Graz . Here he devoted himself above all to the physics and optics of the atmosphere as well as the study of the trombone ( cyclone ). The scientific evaluation of his second Greenland expedition (ice measurements, atmospheric optics, etc.) was delayed until the end of the 1920s. As part of the professorship in Graz, he also took on Austrian citizenship.

In November 1926, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists held an important symposium on continental drift theory in New York . With the exception of the chairman, almost everyone involved rejected Wegener's theory of displacement. Three years later, The Formation of the Continents and Oceans appeared in the fourth, expanded and final edition.

Last trip to Greenland

Ship of the German Greenland Expedition 1930
Alfred Wegener (left) and Rasmus Villumsen before the departure from Eismitte . Last photo (retouched version)


In 1929 Wegener undertook his third trip to Greenland, which was planned as a pre-expedition for the main expedition in 1930. He was accompanied by Johannes Georgi , Fritz Loewe and Ernst Sorge . On site, Wegener recruited Tobias Gabrielsen (1878–1945) from Greenland, whom he knew from the Danmark expedition. The aim of the pre-expedition was to find a suitable location for the base station for the following year and to clarify questions about the equipment, in particular the transport system, for which dog sleds, horses and propeller sleds came into question. Wegener also used the opportunity for initial scientific preliminary tests such as ice drilling to assess ice melt and accumulation and seismic ice thickness measurements.

In search of a suitable ascent route to the inland ice, the expedition participants made extensive trips with the dog sled. A total of 850 km were covered. Wegener and Georgi and their Greenland sledge driver advanced 209 km to the east and reached an altitude of 2500 m.

Main expedition

The main expedition a year later, led by Wegener, on which the thickness of the mainland ice and the year-round weather were to be measured from three fixed stations, was a bad one from the start. The loss of time of 38 days due to unfavorable ice conditions when landing at the western station could not be made up again. The propeller sleds used for the first time failed because the fresh snow was too deep and the engine power was too low.

On the way back from the Eismitte research station (essentially a cave dug into the ice), which he supplied with additional food, Wegener probably died around November 16, 1930. On May 12, 1931, Wegener's carefully laid grave was found in the ice. Heart failure as a result of overexertion was believed to be the cause of death. His Greenlandic companion, Rasmus Villumsen , who had buried him, remained missing, along with Wegener's diary.

Wegener's theory of continental drift

Memorial plaque to Wegener's place of work in Marburg

Wegener's name is closely related to the theory of continental drift, which was to become one of the most important foundations for today's plate tectonics . Wegener was not the first to notice the similar curves on the west coast of Africa and the east coast of South America. But when he happened to become aware of the paleontological connections between South America and Africa in the autumn of 1911 , the idea of ​​a supercontinent that had broken up and whose parts drifted apart afterwards germinated in him. So far, the occurrence of certain fossils on different continents had been explained by the land bridge hypothesis . It was assumed that ancient creatures migrated from one continent to another on such land bridges, similar to the current isthmus of Panama .

“If I only came up with it through the coinciding coastal contours, the evidence must of course start from the results of observation of the geology. Here we are forced to accept a land connection, for example between South America and Africa, which broke off at a certain time. The process can be imagined in two ways: 1) by sinking a connecting continent 'Archhelenis' or 2) by pulling apart a large rift. So far, based on the unchangeable situation of each country, one has always only 1) considered and 2) ignored. But 1) contradicts the modern theory of isostasis and our physical ideas in general. A continent cannot sink because it is lighter than what it floats on. [...] Why should we hesitate to throw the old view overboard? "

- Alfred Wegener : Letter of November 6th to his mentor Wladimir Köppen

In fact, this hypothesis seems to have been up in the air elsewhere. As early as December 29, 1908, the North American geologist Frank Bursley Taylor had claimed in a lecture to the Geological Society of America that the continents had not sunk but were slowly drifting apart. In contrast to Taylor (who later became one of Wegener's first followers), Wegener succeeded in substantiating his theory through various studies in the various branches of geosciences .

Arguments against the old land bridge theory

Wegener's ideas about the supercontinent Pangea he assumed and the drifting apart of the continents
60 Pfennig - special stamp of the Federal Post Office Berlin (1980) for continental drift

Wegener first pointed out the inadequacies of the previous geotectonic model, which was based on the unchangeable position of the continents (" fixism "). For example, he recognized that the recently discovered natural radioactivity completely overturned the previously assumed heat balance of the earth's body. Even with only moderate occurrences of radioactive minerals in the earth's interior, their heat development would make the previously claimed inexorable cooling and shrinking process of the earth, which was made responsible for the unfolding of the mountain ranges and the sinking of the ocean basins, impossible.

During the 19th century it was recognized that the continents made of predominantly granitic material (the so-called sial ) are specifically lighter than the predominantly basaltic ocean floors ( Sima ). Before Wegener, however, nobody had thought this idea through to the end. If the continents (or the land bridges between the continents postulated so far) really floated in an isostatic equilibrium on the denser material, then they could just as little sink as an iceberg in the sea. After all, it was well known that the whole of Scandinavia had been pushed underground by the huge ice masses of the last Ice Age , and one could still observe on the falling coastlines how it slowly reappeared by itself.

Another argument against the land bridge theory was provided by the echo sounder measurements carried out by the research vessel Meteor from 1924 to 1927 in the Atlantic . This technology, which was still very young at the time, provided more precise information about the topography of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge . Instead of the sunken land bridges between the continents running from east to west, they surprisingly discovered a mountain range running from north to south in the middle of the ocean.

Evidence for continental drift

Geological connections across oceans

To support his theory, Wegener was able to cite the similarity of rock formations in India , Madagascar, and East Africa. A mountain range in South Africa seemed to have its extension in a similarly structured mountain range in Argentina . Precambrian rocks in Scotland were similar to those in Labrador, Canada, on the other side of the Atlantic. The folded mountains in Norway and Scotland appeared in the Appalachians continue in North America.


In the field of paleontology , fossils of the seed fern genus Glossopteris and the associated flora have been found in both Africa and Brazil. The fossil land snail Helix pomatia occurs in Europe and in eastern North America, but not in western North America. The Mesosaurus was found in South Africa and Brazil.


Species still living today underpin the thesis of continental drift. For example, manatees live in the tropical rivers of West Africa and South America, while marsupials are only found in Australia and America. There are perch in the freshwater lakes of North America as well as Europe, hippos live on the African continent and in the past also on Madagascar . Wet-nosed primates have their distribution in southern Africa, Madagascar, India , Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia .

Climate witnesses

As a meteorologist, Alfred Wegener was particularly concerned with the history of the earth's climate ( paleoclimatology ). Especially in this area, he collected some of his main arguments: In the Antarctic had coal deposits discovered that almost only tropical able to form conditions. Tertiary fossils of trees that are found in the Mediterranean area today were found on Spitsbergen . In the Jura there were even tropical plants. Further evidence for Wegener's theory was the discovery that the Sahara was once largely covered by glaciers (Andean-Sahara Ice Age) . As we know today, this happened around 460 million years ago in the Ordovician , when North Africa was part of the greater continent of Gondwana near the South Pole.

Wegener's conclusions

Wegener explained all these confusing findings with the assumption of a former supercontinent that broke up and its parts drifted apart. The term pangea was later introduced for this concept . Wegener's reconstruction of the climate witnesses in the Permo - Carboniferous Ice Age provides a particularly clear example : While the traces of icing (such as moraines , glaciers and the cold- loving Glossopteris flora ) that are scattered across all southern continents are grouped around the former South Pole, the salt - and plaster deposits follow the subtropical arid regions. The coal deposits in Eurasia and North America, on the other hand, are grouped along the former equatorial region.

The young chain mountains, such as the American Cordilleras or the Alps , would then have been created by pushing together the rock layers on the face of the wandering continents, similar to a bow wave . He estimated the break-up of this continent into a northern and southern part about 200 million years ago.

Even the role that the mid-ocean ridge plays in today's plate tectonics, Wegener had in a certain way foreseen:

“Since we have to assume isostatic compensation for larger areas also at the bottom of the deep sea, the difference [in the depth] means that what we consider to be the old deep sea floors are specifically heavier than the young ones. Now the thought cannot be dismissed out of hand that freshly exposed Sima areas, such as the Atlantic or western Ind, will for a long time not only retain a lower rigidity but also a higher temperature ... than the old, already cooled seabeds . And such a temperature difference would ... probably suffice to explain the relatively small level differences between the large oceanic basins. These also seem to suggest that the mid-Atlantic threshold should be viewed as the zone in which, as the Atlantic Ocean continues to expand, the bottom of the same continually rips open and makes way for fresh, relatively liquid and high-temperature Sima from the depths. "

However, it must be emphasized that for Wegener, the bottom of the Atlantic was essentially freshly bared and not "newly formed". And although Wegener had already speculated that the large rift systems like the East African Rift could be the first beginnings of a new ocean, the importance of the volcanically active crevice systems on Iceland (i.e. on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge) for continental drift remained hidden from him.

Cause of continental drift

The problem with Wegener's theory was that he failed to make the forces at work plausible. He tried to attribute the movements of the tectonic plates to centrifugal and tidal forces, which, as the British astronomer and geophysicist Harold Jeffreys demonstrated in 1924, are far too weak for this. His opponents, like the Leipzig geologist Franz Kossmat , were also able to assert that the oceanic crust was too solid for the continents to simply “plow through”, as Wegener's theory seemed to suggest.

In the last edition of his Formation of the Continents and Oceans , when searching for the causes of the drift, Wegener already resorted to the ideas of the geologist and geophysicist Robert Schwinner about thermally induced currents in the earth's interior. Today, such convection currents are actually considered to be the most likely engine of plate tectonics .

In this context, it is noteworthy that Wegener only entered into this concept so late and so half-heartedly. After all, he and Schwinner were colleagues at the University of Graz for many years. Possibly animosities towards the personally difficult Schwinner played along; perhaps Wegener was already beginning to respond to the general rejection of his theory by geologists with a rejection of "geologists" in general. In any case, he felt a certain bitterness that the only remaining “counter-argument” he was repeatedly held up against was that he could not explain the cause of the continental drift. The saying goes down from him that with the same logic one can cast doubt on the existence of the universe, because no one can explain its cause either.

For this purpose, Otto Ampferer developed the undercurrent theory .

Additional Services

Impact crater geology

The Barringer Crater near Flagstaff, Arizona

Wegener's work in the field of impact research is little known. A meteorite that hit Schwalmstadt / Hessen on April 3, 1916 (see meteorite from Treysa ) prompted Wegener to deal with impact craters and he wrote treatises on the formation of lunar craters. After systematic experiments with lumps of mortar that he dropped on cement powder, he took the view that the lunar craters were mainly created by meteorites. With this view he was also ahead of his time. At the Treysa meteorite, Wegener looked for eyewitnesses by calling up the newspaper, whereby "in addition to the most precise time possible [...] observations about the color and possible color changes of the light appearance, about the direction and angle at which the explosion or the extinction of the meteor took place" are of particular value . Wegener made his calculations using the eyewitness reports. In this way he determined the length and speed of the meteorite. He calculated the mass to be around 50 kilograms and assumed the impact depth to be around one and a half meters. When the meteorite was actually found on March 6, 1917, Wegener's calculations proved to be correct to within a few kilograms and centimeters. However, Wegener was not correct in the calculated impact point.

As early as 1921 he predicted that many meteorite craters would also be found on earth in the future. At that time only was Meteor Crater in Flagstaff ( Arizona known), and even this was only in 1930 generally recognized as impact craters. Wegener himself identified and described the Kaali crater on the island of Ösel (now Saaremaa , Estonia ) in 1927 . At the time, this was the fourth meteorite crater that was known worldwide.


In addition, Wegener did research mainly in the field of meteorology and dealt in particular with the physics of the atmosphere. He was the first to introduce the concept of turbulence into meteorology and developed the concept of the stratified atmosphere. In addition, he was the first to correctly describe the principle of the Fata Morgana as light reflection at the boundary between two differently dense layers of air and examined the formation of clouds and tornadoes as well as the composition of the air in higher atmospheric layers.

As early as 1918, Wegener described the formation of hair ice on wet dead wood and suspected a “mold-like fungus ” as the trigger, a theory that other scientists who assumed purely physical processes as the cause, questioned, but was confirmed in 2005. In 2015 it was published that although the ice from liquid water in the pores of dead wood pries itself out, metabolic products, especially of a type of fungus that live in the pores, prevent the ice in the filigree ice hair from recrystallizing into a compact crust that is otherwise rather inconspicuously thin occurs.



Wegener's theory of the shifting of the continents was always controversial during his lifetime and was quickly forgotten after his death. Only a few scientists, like the paleogeographer Edgar Dacqué or the Belgrade astronomer Milutin Milanković , supported Wegener from the beginning. Other colleagues spoke more of "thought games", "phantasies" or even of "feverish fantasies of those severely afflicted by crustal rotation disease and pole thrust disease". One of the more well-meaning critics, the director of the French geological survey, Pierre-Marie Termier , said at least: "His theory is a wonderful dream of beauty and grace, the dream of a great poet."

In Germany, the rejection by the then authoritative geologists Hans Stille and Hans Cloos was particularly decisive. While Stille remained a staunch opponent of Wegener's “ mobilism ” until his death in 1966 , Cloos was at least impressed by Wegener's personality and supported him as much as he could in processing the geological specialist literature.

Since Wegener was always sure of the solidity of his theory, he accepted even the sometimes very unobjective criticism with the same amazing composure that had distinguished him on his Greenland expeditions. He also saw through the motives of his critics:

“The people who really insist on being down to earth and want nothing to do with hypotheses are always involved with a wrong hypothesis [...]. If they had already learned the theory of displacement at school, they would represent it throughout their lives with the same lack of understanding in all, including incorrect details, as the sinking of continents is now. "

Late rehabilitation

Bust in the Senckenberg Nature Museum in Frankfurt am Main

Wegener only received active support from the South African geologist Alexander Du Toit , who had dealt intensively with the history of glaciation in the southern continents and who had discovered numerous plant and animal fossils that he knew from South Africa during a five-month stay in South America. In his 1937 book Our Wandering Continents , which he dedicated to Wegener, however, he deviated from the original theory and postulated two primary continents, the southern continent Gondwanaland and the northern continent Laurasia .

The Irish physicist and geologist John Joly and the British geologist Arthur Holmes studied the forces that could cause the continental drift and improved the model of the convection currents , taking into account earlier work by the Austrians Otto Ampferer and Robert Schwinner.

Further research after the Second World War , such as the seismic measurement of the thickness of seabed sediments by the American geophysicist Maurice Ewing , confirmed Wegener's assumptions about the young age of the ocean floors.

The British geophysicist Edward C. Bullard , together with his American colleague Arthur Maxwell , found that the heat flux in the oceanic crust (and especially on the mid-ocean ridges) was significantly higher than in the continental crust, as Wegener had predicted.

Based on the findings of the geophysicist Hugo Benioff about the nature of the deep-sea women at the edge of the Pacific and the paleomagnetic measurements of Patrick Blackett and Keith Runcorn , whose reconstructions of the position of the North Pole over the course of earth's history only made sense if Europe and North America once coincided and then drifted apart the American geologist Harry Hess began to put the individual pieces of the puzzle together. The zones of ocean floor spreading discovered by research ships in the early 1960s , where new oceanic crust is formed between the drifting continents, provided further information on understanding the tectonic processes. A major contribution to the paradigm shift that is now beginning was made by Marie Tharp and Bruce C. Heezen's jointly created maps of the relief of the ocean floors. The plate tectonics resulting from these investigations has been generally recognized in scientific circles since the 1970s .

The direct proof of the continental drift already required by Wegener could meanwhile be provided by satellite geodetic measurements.

Other reception

As early as 1934, the writer HP Lovecraft mentioned in the seventh chapter of his horror story Berge des Wahnsinns Wegener's drift hypothesis, which was then still generally rejected and neglected: "Later maps [of the old ones], which display the land mass as cracking and drifting, and sending certain detached parts northward, uphold in a striking way the theories of continental drift lately advanced by Taylor, Wegener and Joly. "

In 1935, on the 5th anniversary of Wegener's death, the cameraman Walter Riml organized his own expedition to Greenland. He repeated the entire Wegener expedition of 1930 and recorded it on film. The film The Big Ice - Alfred Wegener's Last Voyage was made from the negative material still available from the last Wegener Greenland voyage .

In 2011 the writer Jo Lendle published the novel Alles Land , which tells Alfred Wegener's life in a literary way.


Since 1899 he belonged to the Academic Association for Astronomy and Physics (later mathematical-scientific connection Albingia in the Schwarzburgbund ).


AWI Bremerhaven
Memorial plaque on the house wall of the former Köllnisches Gymnasium

In recognition of Wegener's scientific importance, the following were named after him:

In Greenland:

  • the Wegener Peninsula ( Danish Wegener Halvø )
  • the Wegener Islands ( Wegener Øer )
  • the Alfred Wegener Berg ( Alfred Wegener Bjerg ) in the Stauningalpen

In the Antarctic:

In astronomy:

In Germany:

  • the Alfred-Wegener-Gymnasium in Neuruppin
  • the Alfred Wegener School in Kirchhain near Marburg
  • a plaque on the building of his former school (1980).
  • a high school in Berlin-Zehlendorf (1985)
  • the Wegenerstraße in Rheinau (Mannheim)
  • the Alfred-Wegener-Weg in Hamburg-Neustadt
  • Alfred Wegener Museum Zechlinerhütte




  • Wolfgang Buchner : Undercurrents of the earth. Dockers and Schwinner. Wegener and Greenland. Exhibition catalog. City Museum Graz 2003.
  • Johannes Georgi : Buried in the ice. Experiences at the “Ice Center” station of Alfred Wegener's last Greenland expedition 1930–1931. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1955.
  • Mott T. Greene : Alfred Wegener. Science, Exploration, and the Theory of Continental Drift . Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 2015, ISBN 978-1-4214-1712-7 ( limited preview in Google Book Search, review by Ulf von Rauchhaupt in FAZ, July 29, 2016).
  • Hermann Günzel: Alfred Wegener and his meteorological diary of the Greenland expedition 1906–1908. (= Writings of the Marburg University Library. Volume 59). University Library, Marburg 1991, ISBN 3-8185-0091-6 .
  • Johan Peter Koch: Through the white desert. The Danish expedition across northern Greenland 1912–13. German edition provided by Prof. Dr. Alfred Wegener. Springer, Berlin 1919.
  • Jo Lendle: All land. Novel. DVA, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-421-04525-6 .
  • Christine Reinke-Kunze: Alfred Wegener, polar explorer and discoverer of continental drift. Birkhäuser, Basel / Boston / Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-7643-2946-7 .
  • Klaus Rohrbach: Alfred Wegener, explorer of the wandering continents. Free Spiritual Life, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-7725-1103-1 .
  • Martin Schwarzbach : Alfred Wegener and the drift of the continents. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart 1980, ISBN 3-8047-0582-0 .
  • Else Wegener: Alfred Wegener's last trip to Greenland. The experiences of the German Greenland Expedition 1930/1931 described by his travel companions and according to the researcher's diaries. With the participation of Dr. Fritz Loewe edited by Else Wegener. 8th edition. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1937 (1st edition 1932, 13th edition. 1942).
  • Else Wegener: Alfred Wegener's last trip to Greenland. The experiences of the German Greenland Expedition 1930/31 described by his travel companions and according to the researcher's diaries. New shortened edition. with the assistance of Dr. Fritz Loewe from Else Wegener worried edition. VEB FA Brockhaus Verlag, Leipzig 1953.
  • Else Wegener: Alfred Wegener, diaries, letters, memories. Brockhaus, Wiesbaden 1960.
  • Ulrich Wutzke : The researcher from the Friedrichsgracht. Life and achievement of Alfred Wegener. VEB Brockhaus, Leipzig 1988, ISBN 3-325-00173-4 .
  • Ulrich Wutzke: Through the white desert. Life and achievements of the Greenland explorer and discoverer of the continental drift Alfred Wegener. Perthes, Gotha 1997, ISBN 3-623-00354-9 .
  • Klaus Rohrbach: Adventure in snow and ice - Alfred Wegener polar explorer and discoverer of the wandering continents . Free Spiritual Life Publishing House 2008, ISBN 978-3-7725-1758-7 .


Web links

Commons : Alfred Wegener  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Alfred Wegener  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kurt Wegener: The meteorological result of the 52-hour balloon flight from April 5 to 7, 1906. In: Meteorologische Zeitschrift. 23, 1906, pp. 289-293.
  2. Record list (PDF; 33 kB) of the German Free Ballon Sports Association, accessed on September 10, 2019.
  3. ^ Kurhessischer Verein für Luftfahrt from 1909 e. V. Marburg (Hrsg.): 100 years Kurhessischer Verein für Luftfahrt from 1909 e. V. Marburg. Marburg 2009, pp. 44-54.
  4. Alfred Wegener's biography on
  5. Burghalden-Rundschau (PDF; 4.87 MB). Evangelischer Diakonieverein Sindelfingen e. V., p. 19.
  6. Alfred Wegener: The emergence of the continents and oceans. Second edition. Verlag von Friedr. Vieweg & Son, 1920.
  7. a b Ulf von Rauchhaupt : The Copernicus of the Continents. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, July 29, 2016, p. 10. Von Rauchhaupt gives a lecture on the content of Mott Greene's biography.
  8. ^ Mott T. Greene: Alfred Wegener. Science, Exploration, and the Theory of Continental Drift. Baltimore 2015, p. 466.
  9. ^ Alfred Wegener: With a motorboat and a sledge in Greenland (with articles by Johannes Georgi, Fritz Loewe and Ernst Sorge) in the Gutenberg-DE publishing project by Velhagen & Klasing, Bielefeld / Leipzig 1930
  10. ^ Alfred Wegener: With a motorboat and a sledge in Greenland (with articles by Johannes Georgi, Fritz Loewe and Ernst Sorge) in the Gutenberg-DE publishing project by Velhagen & Klasing, Bielefeld / Leipzig 1930
  11. ^ Alfred Wegener: With a motorboat and a sledge in Greenland (with articles by Johannes Georgi, Fritz Loewe and Ernst Sorge) in the Gutenberg-DE publishing project by Velhagen & Klasing, Bielefeld / Leipzig 1930
  12. ^ The German Greenland Expedition 1930/31 - biography ( Memento from March 15, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). Website of the Alfred Wegener Institute, accessed on April 12, 2015.
  13. ^ Seibold I. and Seibold E .: News from the geologists archive (1991) With memories of Alfred Wegener and Otto Ampferer: Waiting for recognition.
  14. Christoph Hauser: Otto Ampferer and Alfred Wegener - two pioneers on the way to the theory of plate tectonics, Federal Geological Institute 2005
  15. ^ Erich Thenius: The Austrian Geologist Otto Ampferer as founder of the sea-floor spreading concept
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This version was added to the list of excellent articles on December 24, 2005 .