geologyMcAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams

Home » Pangaea Supercontinent

Pangaea Supercontinent


"Supercontinent" is a term used for a large landmass formed by the convergence of multiple continents. The most frequently referenced supercontinent is known as "Pangaea" (also "Pangea"), which existed approximately 225 million years ago. It is thought that all major continents at that time were assembled into the Pangaea supercontinent.

The supercontinent of Pangaea subsequently fragmented and the pieces now account for Earth's current continents. The geography of Pangaea and the more recent continent movements are shown the the map sequence below.

The theory of plate tectonics provides an explanation for these continent movements. According to this theory Earth's outer shell is divided into a series of plates. These plates consist of the crust and a small amount of the underlying mantle. The plates slide over a weak zone in the mantle at a rate of a few centimeters per year. Convection currents in the mantle, caused by the escape of heat from Earth's interior, are what drives the movement of these plates.

If you study the maps below you will see that the Atlantic Ocean is getting wider as a result of the plate movement. Also, the Pacific Ocean is closing. A new supercontinent might form when the Pacific Ocean completely closes and the continents surrounding it converge.

supercontinent

Illustration from USGS

The current continent of Eurasia could be considered a supercontinent. The Ural Mountains separate Europe from Asia and mark a line of compression and deformation where the two continents crushed into one another.



Find it on Geology.com




More from Geology.com


rocks
Rock Gallery: Photos of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.
hematite
Hematite - the most important ore of iron and a source of mineral pigment since prehistory.
Olivine
Olivine is a rock-forming mineral found in the crust, the mantle, and in some meteorites.
Oil Sands
Oil Sands contain oil in the form of bitumen. A major oil resource that can be difficult to produce.
Coal
Coal Through a Microscope: Coal is more than a black rock. It's THE most interesting rock.
What Are Meteorites?
What Are Meteorites? Rocks which were once part of planets or large asteroids.
chrysoberyl
Chrysoberyl: an extreme gem. Its hardness is 8.5, can display chatoyance or color-change.
Deepest Lake in the World
Deepest Lake in the World: Lake Baikal in southern Russia is the deepest lake in the World.


© 2005-2015 Geology.com. All Rights Reserved.
Images, code and content of this website are property of Geology.com. Use without permission is prohibited. Pages on this site are protected by Copyscape.