21 Facts About Pangaea


Pangaea or Pangea was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras.

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In contrast to the present Earth and its distribution of continental mass, Pangaea was centred on the Equator and surrounded by the superocean Panthalassa and the Paleo-Tethys and subsequent Tethys Oceans.

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Pangaea is the most recent supercontinent to have existed and the first to be reconstructed by geologists.

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Name "Pangaea" is derived from Ancient Greek pan and Gaia or Gaea .

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Pangaea expanded upon his hypothesis in his 1915 book The Origin of Continents and Oceans, in which he postulated that, before breaking up and drifting to their present locations, all the continents had formed a single supercontinent that he called the "Urkontinent".

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Name "Pangaea" occurs in the 1920 edition of Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane, but only once, when Wegener refers to the ancient supercontinent as "the Pangaea of the Carboniferous".

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Wegener originally proposed that the breakup of Pangaea was due to centripetal forces from the Earth's rotation acting on the high continents.

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Additional evidence for Pangaea is found in the geology of adjacent continents, including matching geological trends between the eastern coast of South America and the western coast of Africa.

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Fossil evidence for Pangaea includes the presence of similar and identical species on continents that are now great distances apart.

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Pangaea is only the most recent supercontinent reconstructed from the geologic record.

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However, reconstructions of continents prior to Pangaea, including the ones in this section, remain partially speculative, and different reconstructions will differ in some details.

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Pangaea, which looked like a C, with the new Tethys Ocean inside the C, had rifted by the Middle Jurassic, and its deformation is explained below.

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Pangaea existed as a supercontinent for 160 million years, from its assembly around 335 million years ago to its breakup 175 million years ago .

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The early drying trend was most pronounced in western Pangaea, which became a center of the evolution and geographical spread of amniotes.

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The assembly of Pangaea disrupted the intertropical convergence zone and created an extreme monsoon climate that reduced the deposition of coal to its lowest level in the last 300 million years.

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The extremes of climate in the interior of Pangaea are reflected in bone growth patterns of pareiasaurs and the growth patterns in gymnosperm forests.

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The first breakup of Pangaea is proposed for the late Ladinian with initial spreading in the opening central Atlantic.

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Second major phase in the break-up of Pangaea began in the Early Cretaceous, when the landmass of Gondwana separated into multiple continents .

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The break-up of Pangaea continues today in the Red Sea Rift and East African Rift.

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Breakup of Pangaea was accompanied by outgassing of large quantities of carbon dioxide from continental rifts.

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The very active mid-ocean ridges associated with the breakup of Pangaea raised sea levels to the highest in the geological record, flooding much of the continents.

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