In paleogeography , GONDWANA ( /ɡɒndˈwɑːnə/ ), also
GONDWANALAND, is the name given to an ancient supercontinent . It is
believed to have sutured about 600 to 530 million years ago , joining
Gondwana to West Gondwana.
Gondwana formed prior to
Pangaea , and
later became part of it.
Around 335 to 250 million years ago ,
together to form the supercontinent Pangaea, which existed until
approximately 215 to 175 million years ago .
Gondwana then separated
Laurasia (the mid-
Mesozoic era ) in the breakup of Pangaea,
drifting farther south after the split.
Gondwana itself then also
Gondwana included most of the landmasses in today's Southern
Hemisphere , including
South America ,
Madagascar , and the Australian continent , as well as the Arabian
Peninsula and the
Indian subcontinent , which have now moved entirely
Northern Hemisphere .
The continent of
Gondwana was named by Austrian scientist Eduard
Suess , after the
Gondwana region of central northern
India which is
Sanskrit for "forest of the Gonds ". The name had been
previously used in a geological context, first by H.B. Medlicott in
1872, from which the
Gondwana sedimentary sequences (Permian
Triassic ) are also described.
The adjective "GONDWANAN" is in common use in biogeography when
referring to patterns of distribution of living organisms, typically
when the organisms are restricted to two or more of the
now-discontinuous regions that were once part of Gondwana, including
Antarctic flora . For example, the plant family
Proteaceae , known
only from southern South America, South Africa, Australia, and New
Zealand, is considered to have a "Gondwanan distribution". This
pattern is often considered to indicate an archaic, or relict ,
* 1 Formation
* 3 Weather
* 4 Breakup
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 Further reading
* 8 External links
Life timeline view • discuss • edit -4500 — – -4000 —
– -3500 — – -3000 — – -2500 — – -2000 — – -1500 —
– -1000 — – -500 — – 0 — WATER Single-celled
life PHOTOSYNTHESIS EUKARYOTES Multicellular
life LAND LIFE DINOSAURS MAMMALS FLOWERS ←
Earth (−4540 ) ← Earliest water ← Earliest
life ← LHB meteorites ← Earliest oxygen ←
Atmospheric oxygen ← Oxygen crisis ← Earliest sexual
reproduction ← Ediacara biota ←
← Earliest humans P
n Pongola Huronian
Cryogenian Andean Karoo Quaternary
Axis scale : millions of years .
Orange labels: known ICE AGES.
Human timeline and Nature timeline Eastern Gondwana
Orogens and Kuungan Orogens
The assembly of
Gondwana was a protracted process. Several orogenies
led to its final amalgamation 550 to 500 million years ago at the end
Ediacaran , and into the
Cambrian . These include the
Orogeny , the East African
Orogeny , the Malagasy
and the Kuunga
Orogeny . The final stages of Gondwanan assembly
overlapped with the opening of the
Iapetus Ocean between
western Gondwana. During this interval, the
Gondwana was formed from the following earlier continents and
microcontinents , among others, colliding in the following orogenies:
Azania : much of central
Madagascar , the Horn of
Africa and parts
Arabia (Named by Collins and Pisarevsky (2005): "Azania"
was a Greek name for the East African coast.)
* The Congo –
Bangweulu Block of central Africa;
* Neoproterozoic India: India, the
Antongil Block in far eastern
Seychelles , and the Napier and Rayner Complexes in
* The Australia/Mawson continent: Australia west of Adelaide and a
large extension into East
* Other blocks which helped to form
Argentina and some surrounding
regions, including a piece transferred from
Laurentia when the west
Gondwana scraped against southeast
Laurentia in the Ordovician
. This is the Famatinian block (named after
Famatina in northwest
Argentina) and it formerly continued the line of the Appalachians
Reconstruction showing final stages of assembly of Gondwana, 550
One of the major sites of Gondwanan amalgamation was the East African
Orogeny (Stern, 1994), where these two major orogenies are
superimposed. The East African
Orogeny at about 650–630 Mya affected
a large part of Arabia, north-eastern Africa, East Africa, and
Madagascar . Collins and Windley (2002) propose that in this orogeny,
Azania collided with the Congo –
Tanzania –Bangweulu Block.
The later Malagasy orogeny at about 550–515 Mya affected
Madagascar, eastern East
Africa and southern India. In it,
India collided with the already combined
Congo–Tanzania–Bangweulu Block, suturing along the Mozambique Belt
At the same time, in the Kunga
with the Australia/Mawson continent.
Other large continental masses, including the core cratons of North
Canadian Shield or Laurentia),
Baltica ), and
Siberia , were added over time to form the supercontinent
Permian time. When
Pangaea broke up (mostly during the
Jurassic ), two
Gondwana and Laurasia, were formed.
The reformed Gondwanan continent was not precisely the same as that
which had existed before
Pangaea formed; for example, most of Florida
and southern Georgia and
Alabama is underlain by rocks that were
originally part of Gondwana, but this region stayed attached to North
Pangaea broke apart.
During the late
Gondwana extended from a point at or near
the South Pole to near the Equator. Across much of Gondwana, the
climate was mild. During the
Mesozoic , the world was on average
considerably warmer than it is today.
Gondwana was then host to a huge
variety of flora and fauna for many millions of years. The laurel
forest of Australia,
New Caledonia , and
New Zealand have a number of
other related species of the laurissilva de Valdivia, through the
connection of the
Antarctic flora as gymnosperms and deciduous
Corynocarpus laevigatus is called the bay of
Laurelia novae-zelandiae belongs to the same genus
Laurelia . The sempervirens tree niaouli grows in Australia, New
Caledonia, and New Zealand.
New Caledonia and
New Zealand ecoregions became separated from
Australia by continental drift 85 million years ago. The islands still
retain plants that originated in
Gondwana and spread to the Southern
Hemisphere continents later. However, strong evidence exists of
glaciation during the
Permian time, especially in
Nothofagus plant genus illustrates Gondwanan distribution,
having descended from the supercontinent and existing in present-day
Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and the
Southern Cone . Fossils
have also recently been found in Antarctica.
Gondwana began to break up in the early
Jurassic and the early
Cretaceous (about 184 to 132 million years ago ) accompanied by
massive eruptions of basalt lava, as East Gondwana, comprising
Antarctica, Madagascar, India, and Australia, began to separate from
South America began to drift slowly westward from
the South Atlantic Ocean opened, beginning about 130 Mya during the
Early Cretaceous , and resulting in open marine conditions by 110 Mya.
Gondwana then began to separate about 120 Mya when
India began to
Madagascar block, and a narrow remnant microcontinent presently
occupied by the
Seychelles Islands, were broken off India; elements of
this breakup nearly coincide with the Cretaceous–Paleogene
extinction event . The India–Madagascar–
appear to coincide with the eruption of the Deccan basalts , whose
eruption site may survive as the
Réunion hotspot .
Australia began to separate from
Antarctica perhaps 80 Mya (Late
Cretaceous), but sea-floor spreading between them became most active
about 40 Mya during the
Eocene epoch of the
New Zealand probably separated from
Antarctica between 130 and 85
As the age of mammals commenced, the continent of Australia-New
Guinea began gradually to separate and move north (55 Mya), rotating
about its axis to begin with, and thus retaining some connection with
the remainder of
Gondwana for about 10 million years.
About 45 Mya, the
Indian Plate collided with Asia, buckling the crust
and forming the
Himalayas . At about the same time, the southernmost
part of Australia (modern
Tasmania ) finally separated from
Antarctica, letting ocean currents flow between the two continents for
the first time.
Antarctica became cooler and Australia became drier
because ocean currents circling
Antarctica were no longer directed
around northern Australia into the subtropics .
The separation of
South America from West
Antarctica some time during
Oligocene , perhaps 30 Mya, also caused climate changes .
Immediately before this separation,
South America and East Antarctica
were not connected directly. However, the many microplates of the
Antarctic Peninsula remained near southern South America, acting as
"stepping stones " and allowing continued biological interchange and
stopped oceanic current circulation. When the
Drake Passage opened, a
barrier was no longer present to force the cold waters of the Southern
Ocean to be exchanged with warmer tropical water. Instead, a cold
circumpolar current developed and
Antarctica became what it is today:
a frigid continent that locks up much of the world's fresh water as
ice. Sea temperatures dropped by almost 10°C, and the global climate
became much colder.
By about 15 Mya, the collision between New Guinea (on the leading
edge of the Australian Plate) and the southwestern part of the Pacific
Plate pushed up the
New Guinea Highlands , causing a rain shadow
effect which drastically changed weather patterns in Australia, drying
South America was connected to
North America via the Isthmus
of Panama , cutting off a circulation of warm water and thereby making
Arctic colder , as well as allowing the Great American Interchange
Red Sea and
East African Rift are modern examples of continental
Continental drift , the movement of the Earth's continents
relative to each other
Geology of the Australasian ecozone
Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
* The Great Escarpment of Southern Africa
Plate tectonics , a theory which describes the large-scale motions
of Earth's lithosphere
South Polar dinosaurs , which proliferated during the Early
Cretaceous (145–100 Mya) while Australia was still linked to
Antarctica to form East Gondwana
* ^ "gondwana". Dictionary.com . Lexico Publishing Group. Retrieved
* ^ "Gondwanaland". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary . Retrieved
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* ^ Houseman, Greg. "Dispersal of Gondwanaland". University of
Leeds . Retrieved 21 Oct 2008.
* ^ Eduard Suess, Das Antlitz der Erde (The Face of the Earth),
vol. 1 (Leipzig, Germany: G. Freytag, 1885), page 768. From p. 768:
"Wir nennen es Gondwána-Land, nach der gemeinsamen alten
Gondwána-Flora, … " (We name it Gondwána-Land, after the common
ancient flora of Gondwána … )
* ^ Rapalini, AE (2001). The Assembly of Southern
South America in
Proterozoic and Paleozoic: Some Paleomagnetic Clues. Spring
American Geophysical Union
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mid-Palaeozoic Sierra Grande Formation: further constraints on the
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* ^ http://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/142/1/219.abstract
Gondwana collision: the origin of the Famatinian-Appalachian
Orogenic Belt (a review)
* ^ Collins, Alan S; Windley, Brian F (May 2002). "The Tectonic
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* ^ "
Gondwana Remnants In
Alabama And Georgia: Uchee Is An
\'Exotic\' Peri-Gondwanan Arc Terrane, Not Part Of Laurentia".
ScienceDaily. February 4, 2008. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
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Eocene of western
Antarctica and their bearing on the origin,
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* Animation showing the dispersal of Gondwanaland
* Graphical subjects dealing with Tectonics and Paleontology