The Changing Continents

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by mgill28
Last updated 5 years ago

Earth History

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The Changing Continents

300 Million Years AgoAt this time, the continents were created and formed Pangaea, which covered about 1/3 of the Earth's surface. They were surrounded by one large ocean named Panthalassa.

Climate Change and Evidence of Changing ContinentsAt the time when all of the continents were together as one, the familiar climates of today are much different. For example, Antarctica was much warmer than it is today and all of the continents were closer to the equator. Antartica was also covered in forests.Also, there are similar fossils of plants and animals on continents that are no where near each other today, but once were in the times of Pangaea.

The Changing Continents

Moving ContinentsThe continents are constantly moving around the world. As they move through rifting and tectonic plates, they move to different parts of the world, changing their climates. At one time, all of the continents were combined into one giant landmass known as Pangea. Scientists predict that in about 250 million years, another super continent will form.


Key TermsRifting- The process by which a continent or other large landmass breaks apart.Terrane- A piece of lithosphere with a unique geologic history compared to its surrounding areas.Supercontinental Cycle- The process by which continents form and break apart over millions of years.

250 Million Years AgoThis is when Pangaea began to break apart and the continents slowly drifted away from each other. Antarctica was covered in forests. Around this time, the Sahara Desert was covered in ice.

160 MIllion Years AgoPangaea splits into two major landmasses, Laurasia to the North and Gondwanaland to the South. The continents are futher breaking apart from one another. The Earth was much warmer from volcanoes erupting and spewing carbon dioxide into the air.

65 Million Years AgoThe continents are as seperated as they are today and they are very close to the position and location that they are at today. The Erath was gradually getting cooler.

Key TermsPangaea- The supercontinent that formed 300 million years ago and that began to break up beginning at 250 million years ago.Panthalassa- The single, large ocean that covered the Earth's surface during the time that Pangaea existed.


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