In 1912, Alfred Wegener proposed an idea that became the starting point for the modern theory of plate tectonics. Wegener’s idea, dubbed “continental drift,” attempted to explain why so many of the continents seemed to fit together like puzzle pieces and why fossils of identical plants and animals could be found on opposite sides of the Atlantic. His conclusion was that the continents are not fixed, and must drift over time.
But the idea failed to gain acceptance in his lifetime. It flew in the face of prevailing geologic wisdom, and he didn’t have a mechanism to explain how it happened. It wasn’t until J. Tuzzo Wilson published a landmark paper laying out evidence that seafloor spreading has pushed apart continental landmasses that the idea took hold. This concept is now known as plate tectonics.
Rollin Chamberlain was a noted geologist of his time. He was a professor of geology at the University of Chicago and served as editor of the Journal of Geology. He died in 1948, 18 years before Wilson’s paper was published and the field of geology was changed forever.
Source: Some of the objections to Wegener's theory. In Theory of Continental
Drift: A Symposium, pp. 83-87. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.