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


gem photos
100+ Gems - Photos of over 100 beautiful gems ranging from the popular to the obscure.
US Gemstones
United States Gemstones: A diversity of gemstones are produced in the United States.
Salt Domes
Salt Domes are columns of salt that move upwards because of the salt\\\'s low specific gravity.
Ticks
Ticks are a problem for geologists in some areas. Learn to recognize and avoid them.
Where Do Bears Live
Where Do Bears Live in North America? Geographic range of grizzly, polar and black bears.
Mineraloids
Mineraloids are amorphous naturally-occurring inorganic solids that lack crystallinity.
Green River Formation
The Green River Formation is one of the most famous rock units in the world for its fossils.
Crushed Stone
Crushed Stone - About four tons per person is used each year in the United States.


© 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.