menu

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

geology store

More From Geology.com:


Geodes
Geodes look like ordinary rocks on the outside but can be spectacular inside!
lapis lazuli
Lapis Lazuli - a metamorphic rock and the most popular blue opaque gemstone in history.
Fluorescent Minerals
Fluorescent Minerals and rocks glow with spectacular colors under ultraviolet light.
gem photos
100+ Gems Photos of over 100 beautiful gems ranging from the popular to the obscure.
Ruby and Sapphire
Ruby and Sapphire are the 2nd and 3rd most popular colored stones in the United States.
minerals
Minerals: Information about ore minerals, gem materials and rock-forming minerals.
rocks
Rock Gallery: Photos of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.
Diamonds
Diamonds: Learn about the properties of diamond, its many uses and diamond discoveries.