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USGS Geology in the Parks

View of earth, 237 million years ago Tmescale timebar 237 million years ago

Earth
237 million years ago

Triassic

What's going on here?

  • The continental collisions that created the patchwork supercontinent Pangaea at the end of the Paleozoic Era continued in the early part of the Mesozoic.
  • Keep your eyes on the intersection of Laurasia (North America and Europe) and Gondwana (South America, Africa, Antarctica, India, and Australia). By the Late Triassic Pangaea begins to breakup. Just as the world's physical and biological landscape was profoundly affected by Pangaea's formation, its breakup will also have far-reaching impacts.

Reconstructing ancient Earth

These remarkable figures are produced by C.R. Scotese and the PALEOMAP project. Geologists call these illustrations paleogeographic reconstructions, because they illustrate the reconstructed geography of our Earth at some time in the past.

Making a paleogeographic reconstruction begins by examining several lines of evidence including: paleomagnetism, magnetic anomalies, paleobiogeography, paleoclimatology, and geologic history. By combining all available evidence, geologists are able to construct paleogeographic maps, such as these, that interpret how the geography might have appeared at a specific location and time in the past. Paleogeographic maps are continually being refined as more evidence is collected.

To find out more about how paleogeographic reconstructions are made visit the PALEOMAP project site.

Move forward or back in time.
| Today | 0.018 | 14 | 50 | 69 | 94 | 152 | 195 | 237 | 255 | 306 | 356 | 390 | 425 | 458 | 514 | 650 |
Time in millions of years. Jump back to visit any time!

Scotese, C. R., 1997. Paleogeographic Atlas, PALEOMAP Progress Report 90-0497, Department of Geology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, 37 pp.


| Into Earth | | Putting the pieces toge ther | | Action at the edges |
| National Parks by Tectonic Regions |
| Earth through time | | Detailed version: This Dynamic Earth |

 

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