Comments

  1. Trebuchet says

    I’m sure I’m just one of many who, as youngsters, looked at the obvious similarity in the shapes of the Americas, Europe, and Africa and asked the teacher if the continents had moved. No, not a chance we were told. Sometimes, the obvious answer is the correct one!

  2. CaitieCat says

    Hey, a poly kitten continent-pile!

    (coined by a former girlfriend of mine, who came over one evening to find four people lounging on my bed, all of us semi-nude or better, and just watching TV in this sort of heapo’people, which she coined a “kittenpile’. )

    (Y’know, before climbing up on the bed with everyone.)

    Sometimes, poly is really, really awesome.

  3. Eristae says

    I’ve always been fascinated by wondering how having only one continent must have impacted climate.

    • lpetrich says

      Eristae, check out Chris Scotese’s continental-drift maps. CS also has maps of Climate History deduced from various sorts of rocks and fossils.

      Pangaea existed during the Permian and Triassic geological periods, so that’s where to look.

      Much of Pangaea was desert, more than what’s typical today, when it’s mainly subtropical areas that are deserts. But there is a present-day counterpart of the Pangaea desert: the deserts of Central Asia. These are the result of water raining out and not being replenished as the air travels to those areas.

  4. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    And aww .. They had all the oceans cuddling together as one too!

    @3. Eristae : From what I recall from reading and a few Tv series like Walking With Dinosaurs the answer is rather badly.

    Possibly unreliable memory and logic serving, a single landmass means a larger area with a continental (ie more extreme climate) more deserts and when parts were over one of the poles possibly contributed to a “snowball earth” effect.

  5. lyle says

    Actually its worse than you suggest, take a look at either Continents and Supercontinents by Jhon Rogers or Plate Tectonics Continental Drift and Mountain Building. In particular look at the great divorce of the continents when Rodinia broke up, For example all of north america west of Montana, the Watsach Front and further south went out to sea. Also during the assembly of Pangea, parts of what is now the andes side of south america collided with the east coast of north america. (See books for details of the theories), or take nova scotia and scotland etc. The got hitched during the Grenville and then broke up when Rodinia broke up, got back together when the pre -atlantic (iapatus ??) closed and broke up again when Pangea broke up.
    Since I was in geophysics at Caltech in the mid 1970s it was remarked that a number of trends in the precambrian just stop short of Ca. Now it is explained that during the late Precambrian until the time of the Antler (Mississippian) essentially Nevada was deep sea and that explains what is called the eugeosyncline. The Colorado Plateau area was an area of shallow water and got shallow water deposits instead. Eventually as all things in plate tectonics a passive continental margin gets active when either the plate gets to old, or the plates rearrange themselves on a global scale. Thus the passive margin became the active margin of the western us from the Mississippian to the Present.
    A lot of this was undreamt of in the mid 1970s even by the leading thinkers. I recall Tuzo Wilson suggesting that events in the eastern and western us might be linked and getting some hoots for it. This was wnen the great geosynclinal theory was in its death knells, recall it suggested an area decided because of “earth forces” to sink and accumulate sediment, for a while until the forces caused it to rise. Now of course the sinking is a result of continental separation, and the rising is the result of collisions of continents or continents and island arcs etc. So the observations of the old theory and the facies associated with each phase are correct but the mechanism has been completely changed.
    If you would like I can post more interesting facts from the two books on recent theories of how the earths crockery has rearranged itself over time.

  6. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @^ lyle : Thanks and yes please.