Your cart is empty

Shop

Quantity: 0

Total: 0,00

0

Continental drift on a geological timescale

Continental drift on a geological timescale

The Earth's continents have been in constant motion during the history of the planet.

Geography

Keywords

history of the Earth, positions of the continents, continental drift, Panthalassa, Pangea, Laurasia, Gondwana, geologic epoch, Kambrium, Silurian, Devonian period, Carboniferous, Perm, volcanic activity, evolution, continent, Earth, lithosphere, magma, physical geography, geography

Related items

Scenes

History of the Earth

  • N
  • S
  • Arctic Circle
  • Tropic of Cancer
  • Equator
  • Tropic of Capricorn
  • Antarctic Circle
  • Panthalassa
  • Gondwana
  • Laurentia
  • Siberia
  • Baltica
  • China
  • Tethys
  • Panthalassa
  • Kazakhstan
  • Siberia
  • North China
  • South China
  • Pangaea
  • Tethys
  • Panthalassa
  • Kazakhstan
  • Siberia
  • Laurasia
  • Gondwana
  • Arabia
  • India
  • Tethys
  • Pacific Ocean
  • North America
  • South America
  • Africa
  • India
  • Eurasia
  • Australia
  • Antarctica
  • Indian Ocean
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Indian Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • North America
  • South America
  • Africa
  • Australia
  • Antarctica
  • Eurasia
  • India
  • Indo-Atlantic Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • North America
  • South America
  • Africa
  • Eurasia
  • Antarctica
  • Indian Ocean
  • Australia

4.6 billion years ago
The crust solidified as the Earth was cooling down and covered the entire surface. A primary atmosphere was formed from gases escaping from the solidified matter (hydrogen and noble gases). Later these light gases evaporated into interplanetary space.
The planet was temporarily left without an atmosphere; its surface was hit by a multitude of meteorites that created impact craters. The crust melted in the vicinity of impacts which triggered volcanic activity.

3.6 billion years ago
Gases escaping during volcanic activity form the secondary atmosphere of the Earth (water vapour, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen, chlorine, ammonia, methane). Internal forces start to work. The atmosphere temperature's decreased, causing the condensation of water vapour content and the formation of the first oceans. Ascending magma flows broke the Earth's crust into several pieces, bringing plate tectonic processes into motion.

3 billion years ago
The first orogeny era.

2.3 bilion years ago
Second orogeny era, formation of massifs.

Cambrian period
Gondwana was situated in the Southern Hemisphere. The northern continent divided into three parts (Baltica, Laurentia and Siberia).

Silurian period
Main period of Caledonian orogeny; Baltica and Laurentia formed a joint continent.

Devonian period
Formation of the pedosphere.

Carboniferous period
The Variscan orogeny took place in two phases: Baltica and Laurentia joined Siberia to form Laurasia, while the collision of Laurasia and Gondwana created the supercontinent Pangaea, surrounded by the vast global ocean, Panthalassa.

Jurassic period
The fragmentation of Pangaea; the Atlantic Ocean opened and the Alpide and circum-Pacific belts started to form.

Tertiary period
The main period of Pacific orogeny and Eurasian orogeny.

Quaternary period
Pleistocene: main period of glaciation; the most important surface-shaping forces were the destructive and constructive activities of ice sheets and glaciers.

Holocene
The most important surface-shaping force was the human.

Definitions of terms:

Primary atmosphere: The first atmosphere surrounding the Earth, created from the gases that escaped from the solidifying crust (hydrogen and helium).

Primary ocean: A vast, contiguous body of water in the prehistoric times, created during the cooling of the primary atmosphere. Its water was collected from the heavy rain that fell back from the high humidity atmosphere.

Primary continent: A contiguous supercontinent formed in the Permian period (Pangaea), surrounded by a primary ocean (Panthalassa).

Continent: A large, contiguous area of land surrounded by oceans and seas that has an ancient core (massif).

Oceanic basin: A part of the oceanic crust; an undersea geomorphological feature, a vast sedimentary basin. It is created during tectonic movements, by seafloor spreading; its basaltic material is becoming younger towards the oceanic ridges.

Animation

  • N
  • S
  • Arctic Circle
  • Tropic of Cancer
  • Equator
  • Tropic of Capricorn
  • Antarctic Circle
  • Archaean
  • Proterozoic
  • Palaeozoic era, Cambrian period
  • Palaeozoic era, Ordovician period
  • Palaeozoic era, Carboniferous period
  • Palaeozoic era, Permian period
  • Mesozoic era, Jurassic period
  • Mesozoic era, Jurassic – Cretaceous boundary
  • Mesozoic era, Cretaceous period
  • Cainozoic era, Tertiary period
  • Cainozoic era, Quaternary
  • Holocene

Cylindrical projection

  • Arctic Circle
  • Tropic of Cancer
  • Equator
  • Tropic of Capricorn
  • Antarctic Circle

Narration

The Earth's estimated age is 4.6 billion years; this is when its solid crust formed. Magma flows broke up the Earth's crust into pieces, thus forcing the migration of tectonic plates. Throughout the Earth's history, the outlines and positions of the continents changed with the migrating tectonic plates.

Stages of the Earth's history are distinguished with names, similarly to the history of mankind. In order to be able to differentiate the Earth's periods from those of mankind, the Precambrian, Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cainozoic eras were created. Eras can be further divided into periods, periods into epochs and epochs into ages.

The boundaries of each stage indicate major geological or palaeontological events; for example, the end of the Palaeozoic era is linked to the fragmentation of Pangaea and the Permian-Triassic extinction event, or the great dying.

At the end of the Mesozoic era, 75% of all species became extinct, including dinosaurs.

Each era is characterised by the large-scale appearance of new species and major orogenies. The Caledonian and Variscan mountain belts formed in the Palaeozoic era, which was dominated by calcareous animals and arthropods.

The Mesozoic era was the time of dinosaurs and the formation of the Pacific and Eurasian mountain belts, which reached its peak in the Tertiary period of the Cainozoic era. Mammals spread on Earth during the Tertiary period. The Quaternary period of the Cainozoic era is characterised by ice ages. At the end of the last ice age, the flora and fauna we know today were formed.

Related items

Formation of the Earth and Moon

This animation demonstrates how the Earth and the Moon were formed.

Tectonic plates

Tectonic plates can move in relation to each other.

The life-cycle of the Solar System

The formation of the Sun and the planets started with the contraction of a dust cloud about 4.5 billion years ago.

Continents and oceans

Dry land on the surface of Earth is divided into continents which are separated by oceans.

Glaciation

The last Ice Age ended about 13 thousand years ago.

Globe

The Globe in various three-dimensional views.

Seafloor map

The boundaries of tectonic plates can be seen on the seafloor.

Seas and bays

This animation demonstrates the most important seas and bays.

Deep-sea hydrothermal vents

A hydrothermal vent is a fissure in the planet's surface through which geothermally heated water erupts.

Earth

The Earth is a rocky planet with a solid crust and oxygen in its atmosphere.

Earthquake

An earthquake is one of the most devastating natural phenomena.

Fjord

A fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.

Glacier (intermediate)

A glacier is a large body of ice that forms from snow, and is in constant, slow motion.

Interesting geography facts – Physical geography

This animation presents some interesting facts in physical geography.

Structure of the Earth (intermediate)

The Earth is composed of several spherical layers.

Topography of the Earth

The animation presents the largest mountains, plains, rivers, lakes and deserts of the Earth.

Volcanic activity

This animation demonstrates different types of volcanic eruptions

Apatosaurus

Long-necked herbivorous dinosaur with a robust body.

Archaeopteryx

The archaeopteryx shows characteristics of both birds and reptiles. It is probably the ancestor of birds.

Carboniferous flora and fauna

This animation presents some animals and plants that lived between the Devonian and Permian periods (358-299 million years ago).

Deinonychus

Deinonychus antirrhopus, the 'terrible claw', was a carnivorous dromaeosaurid dinosaur.

Faulting (basic)

Vertical forces can break up layers of rock into fault blocks, which then move vertically along the fracture planes.

Folding (basic)

Lateral compressive forces cause rocks to form folds. This is how fold mountains are formed.

Folding (intermediate)

Lateral compressive forces cause rocks to form folds. This is how fold mountains are formed.

Glacier (basic)

A glacier is a large body of ice that forms from snow, and is in constant, slow motion.

Ichthyosaur

Fish-like marine dinosaurs which resembled dolphins; a good example of convergent evolution.

Ichthyostega

A prehistoric amphibian and an early representative of the Tetrapods, which became extinct 360 million years ago.

Monsters of the Palaeozoic: sea scorpions

Eurypterids are an extinct group of Palaeozoic aquatic arthropods.

Permian flora and fauna

This 3D scene presents the flora and fauna of the last period of the Palaeozoic Era.

Pteranodon longiceps

A prehistoric flying reptile, similar to birds. However, there is no direct evolutionary link between the two.

Quetzalcoatlus, a giant pterosaur

Quetzalcoatlus was one of the largest known flying animals of all time.

Stegosaurus

A type of prehistoric reptile having bony plates on its back, which aided thermoregulation.

Tiktaalik

A transitional form between fish and tetrapods, or four-limbed vertebrates.

Tyrannosaurus rex ‘tyrant lizard’

Large carnivores, perhaps the best known of dinosaurs.

Triceratops

A type of herbivorous dinosaur easily recognisable by its large frill and three horns which lived in the Cretaceous period.

Trilobites

The ancestors of Arachnida and Crustacea belonged to the class Trilobita.

Ammonites

An extinct group of Cephalopoda, with solid external skeletons. They are excellent index fossils.

Added to your cart.