Plate Tectonics and Paleo Animation

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Watch as 600 million years of plate tectonic activity transform the Earth's surface.

This animation, which is made from approximately 4,000 high-resolution images, starts with the break-up of a large southern landmass called Pannotia, the pieces of which eventually disintegrated into several continents, including Laurasia and Gondwana. Later, these landmasses would recombine to form the most recent supercontinent, Pangaea.

Pangaea began its break up around 300 million years ago, evolving into what became the present-day continental configuration. During the Jurassic period, 140-180 million years ago, the North Atlantic opened up, then South America and Africa pulled apart to create the South Atlantic, and finally Gondwana broke up to form India, Australia, and Antarctica. When India broke free from other landmasses, it traveled with great speed toward current day Asia—the collision between the two land masses caused the Himalayas to form.

Related Web Sites:

Science on a Sphere: Plate Tectonics and Paleo Animation

Science on a Sphere: Dataset Pictures and Movies Gallery