Australia, meanwhile, has been tilting and sinking. Over the past 100 million years as it has drifted north toward Asia, its leading edge has sunk by some six hundred feet. It appears that Indonesia is very slowly drowning, and dragging Australia down with it. Nothing in the theories of tectonics can explain any of this.
Alfred Wegener never lived to see his ideas vindicated. On an expedition to Greenland in 1930, he set out alone, on his fiftieth birthday, to check out a supply drop. He never returned. He was found a few days later, frozen to death on the ice. He was buried on the spot and lies there yet, but about a yard closer to North America than on the day he died.
Einstein also failed to live long enough to see that he had backed the wrong horse. In fact, he died at Princeton, New Jersey, in 1955 before Charles Hapgood's rubbishing of continental drift theories was even published.
The other principal player in the emergence of tectonics theory, Harry Hess, was also at Princeton at the time, and would spend the rest of his career there. One of his students was a bright young fellow named Walter Alvarez, who would eventually change the world of science in a quite different way.
As for geology itself, its cataclysms had only just begun, and it was young Alvarez who helped to start the process.