Home » Pangaea Supercontinent

Pangaea Supercontinent


Permian continental drift

"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.



Triassic continental drift

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 in the map sequence on this page. Maps by USGS.



Cretaceous continental drift

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.


Present-day continents

Maps on this page by USGS.

If you study the maps on this page, 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.

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.



More Plate Tectonics
  Explore Plate Boundaries
  Teaching Plate Tectonics
  Geology Tools
  What is the San Andreas Fault?
  What Is The Moho?
  How Deep Does Magma Form
  The East Africa Rift System
  The Japan Earthquake

geology store

More From Geology.com:


Diamonds from Coal
Biggest Misconception: Lots of people think that diamonds form from coal. Not True!
Ant Hill Garnets
Ant Hill Garnets - tiny garnets that ants haul to the surface and discard on their anthill.
Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners Insurance usually does not cover the most common geologic hazards.
What Are Minerals?
What Are Minerals? We use items made with them every day. What makes them special?
UV Mineral Lamp
Portable UV Lamp - short / long wave for fluorescent minerals. Safety glasses included.
Mount Etna
Mount Etna: The most active volcano in Europe, continues an eruption that started in 2001.
Is Water a Mineral?
Are Water and Ice Minerals? Comparing their properties with the definition of a mineral.
Volcanic Ash
Volcanic Ash: Learn about volcanic ash, volcanic dust and their impacts.