Neoproterozoic to Cretaceous landmass / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Gondwana ( /ɡɒndˈwɑːnə/)[1] was a large landmass, sometimes referred to as a supercontinent. It was formed by the accretion of several cratons (a large stable block of the earth's crust), beginning c. 800 to 650 Ma with the East African Orogeny, the collision of India and Madagascar with East Africa, and was completed c. 600 to 530 Ma with the overlapping Brasiliano and Kuunga orogenies, the collision of South America with Africa, and the addition of Australia and Antarctica, respectively.[2] Eventually, Gondwana became the largest piece of continental crust of the Palaeozoic Era, covering an area of about 100,000,000 km2 (39,000,000 sq mi),[3] about one-fifth of the Earth's surface. It fused with Euramerica during the Carboniferous to form Pangea. It began to separate from northern Pangea (Laurasia) during the Triassic, and started to fragment during the Early Jurassic (around 180 million years ago). The final stages of break-up, involving the separation of Antarctica from South America (forming the Drake Passage) and Australia, occurred during the Paleogene (from around 66 to 23 million years ago (Mya). Gondwana was not considered a supercontinent by the earliest definition, since the landmasses of Baltica, Laurentia, and Siberia were separated from it.[4] To differentiate it from the Indian region of the same name (see § Name), it is also commonly called Gondwanaland.[5]

Gondwana 420 million years ago (late Silurian). View centred on the South Pole.

The remnants of Gondwana make up around two-thirds of today's continental area, including South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Zealandia, Arabia, and the Indian Subcontinent.

Regions that were part of Gondwana shared floral and zoological elements that persist to the present day.