New perspective suggests need to rethink mechanism behind supercontinent’s demise
Pangaea’s breakup may have been an outside job.
A reexamination of tectonic movements 200 million years ago suggests that the supercontinent was pulled apart by shrinking of the forerunner to the modern Indian Ocean. The new work, presented online February 27 in Geology, signals that scientists may have to rethink Pangaea’s demise, says geologist Stephen Johnston of the University of Victoria in Canada, who was not involved with the research.
“Everything we think we know about Pangaea is up in the air now,”Johnston says.
Roughly 300 million years ago, all of Earth’s major landmasses squashed together to form Pangaea, the planet’s most recent consortium of all the continents (SN Online: 6/18/12). Around 100 million