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Episodes 2013; 36(2): 125-137

Published online June 1, 2013


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

The 15th International Geological Congress, South Africa (1929): The Resurgence of Wegener’s Continental Drift Theory

Luis Felipe Mazadiego-Martínez and Octavio Puche-Riart

E.T.S. de Ingenieros de Minas de Madrid-Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Sociedad Española para la Defensa del Patrimonio Geológico y Minero (SEDPGYM). International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences (INHIGEO–IUGS).
E-mail: luisfelipe.mazadiego@upm.es; octavio.puche@upm.es
Translated from Spanish by Lilen Malugani Guillet

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The 15th International Geological Congress was held in South Africa in 1929. Many interesting issues were tackled, thanks to the development of geophysical techniques, ideas about magmatic differentiation, and the origin of the Karroo System, among others. The importance of the Congress from the point of view of the history of geology lies in the fact that an ‘inflection point’ occurred as regards thinking about the continental drift theory that had been proposed by Wegener a few years earlier. It can be said that the contributions of Du Toit allowed a deepening in the theoretical bases of this scientific hypothesis, which celebrated its first hundred years in 2012.