The map above is that of the supercontinent Pangea.
Pangea is a large, single landmass measuring more than 57 million kilometers long. It is surrounded by a massive ocean called Panthalassa. Its name is also spelled Pangaea, with an extra letter “a” in the middle. Its name is from the Greek term for “all the earth”.
It was first discovered by German scientist Alfred Wegener, as part of his continental drift theory. He proposed that Pangea existed around 300 million years ago. The time periods in which Pangea existed were from the Permian and Jurassic epochs.
100 million years later, the supercontinent split into two: (1) Laurasia in the north; and (2) Gondwanaland in the south. The further movement of these plates formed new landmasses. It also opened the likes of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The movement of plate tectonics is the reason landmasses were moving in those years. They continued to move until it formed the continents and bodies of water that we know today.
Have you ever wondered what Pangea with modern borders would look like? Shown in the continent map above is how Pangea looks like if today’s country borders are in place. It is named the “Pangea Politico” because it shows the political borders of today’s countries. The map is made by an Italian cartographer named Massimo Pietrobon. He described how different continents and countries find comfort through their nearby neighbors.
We could only wish that our next-door neighbors were in the next border country, right? Yet, when it was around, Pangea had no existing human life. Other creatures such as dinosaurs may have inhabited this large landmass. Talk about living in a land where you aren’t able to find someone like yourself!
Some scientists predict that the world could see another supercontinent in the future. These scientists hypothesized supercontinents named “Pangea Ultima”, “Novopangea”, “Aurica” and “Amasia”. Despite these discoveries, this will also mean that environmental destruction may take place. But this is said to be under control, as tectonic activity remains stable for now.
Interested to know more about Pangea? Check out these books:
- Continental Drift: The Evolution of Our World from the Origins of Life to the Far Future
- Older Than Dirt: A Wild But True History of Earth
- Earth History and Palaeogeography
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