It is called Continental drift, which describes the movement of the continents relative to eachother, as if the continents are just floating on top of the water. More recently it is called Plate Tectonics, which involves movement in the lithosphere of the planet.
This is simply referred to as continental drift. Continental drift concepts have been incorporated into the theory of plate tectonics, which is the motion of ‘plates’ in the Earth’s lithosphere.
Drifting continents or plate tectonics comes from the theory of continental drift hypothesized by Alfred Wegener in the early twentieth century. The basic points state that there was once a super continent (now known as Pangaea) that tore apart and separated into the continents we know today due to plate tectonics. Under the sea floor, there are “eight major and many minor plates” (Wikipedia) that support the surface of the earth (this includes the ocean and continents). These plates are essentially resting on a bed of lava (scientifically known as the asthenosphere, or the upper crust of the mantle), which shifts the plates around. This in turn, produced the gradual moving of the continents.
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