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Pangaea or Pangea (pronunciation: /pænˈə/[1]) was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras.[2][3] It assembled from earlier continental units approximately 335 million years ago, and it began to break apart about 175 million years ago.[4]


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Around the world, the continental collisions begun in the Carboniferous continued into the Permian. These collisions assembled western Pangea and surrounded it with subduction zones. Eastern Pangea would not form until the Triassic, but the terranes that would comprise it were moving and assembling in the Paleo-Tethys Ocean. These small landmasses included the Cathaysian terranes (North China, South China, and other pieces of Southeast Asia) and the Cimmerian terranes, or Cimmeria (Turkey, Iran, Tibet, and other pieces of Central Asia).[5]


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The formation of Pangea closed smaller seas between continents and uplifted mountain ranges around the supercontinent. Computer models of climate during the Permian indicate that these conditions, coupled with a large continental interior, generated a dry climate with great seasonal fluctuations.[5]

North AmericaEdit

As Pangea was assembled, most of North America was being uplifted during the Permian. This uplift generated the famous fold belts of the Appalachian Mountains and exposed more land in present-day central North America. Shallow seas covered much of modern western North America. Large reef complexes developed and extensive evaporite deposits formed in restricted lagoons at the shoreline. Farther west, subduction began, generating volcanic activity in the region of the modern Sierra Nevada.[5]


  1. Oxford Dictionaries
  2. Lovett, Richard A. (September 5, 2008). "Supercontinent Pangaea Pushed, Not Sucked, Into Place". National Geographic News. 
  3. "Pangea". Encyclopædia Britannica Inc.. 2015. 
  4. Rogers, J.J.W.; Santosh, M. (2004), Continents and Supercontinents, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 146, ISBN 0-19-516589-6 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "The Permian - 290 to 248 Million Years Ago".