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LAURASIA ( /lɔːˈreɪʒə/ or /lɔːˈreɪʃiə/ ) was the more northern of two supercontinents (the other being Gondwana ) that formed part of the Pangaea
Pangaea
supercontinent around 335 to 175 million years ago (Mya ). It separated from Gondwana 215 to 175 Mya (beginning in the late Triassic
Triassic
period ) during the breakup of Pangaea, drifting farther north after the split.

The name combines the names of Laurentia
Laurentia
, the name given to the North American craton , and Eurasia
Eurasia
. As suggested by the geologic naming, Laurasia
Laurasia
included most of the land masses which make up today's continents of the Northern Hemisphere
Northern Hemisphere
, chiefly Laurentia
Laurentia
, Baltica , Siberia , Kazakhstania , and the North China and East China cratons.

CONTENTS

* 1 Origin * 2 Breakup and reformation * 3 Final split * 4 See also * 5 References

ORIGIN

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 ← Earliest Earth
Earth
(−4540 ) ← Earliest water ← Earliest life ← LHB meteorites ← Earliest oxygen ← Atmospheric oxygen ← Oxygen crisis ← Earliest sexual reproduction ← Ediacara biota ← Cambrian explosion
Cambrian explosion
← Earliest humans P h a n e r o z o i c

P r o t e r o z o i c

A r c h e a n H a d e a n Pongola Huronian Cryogenian Andean Karoo Quaternary Axis scale : millions of years . Orange labels: known ICE AGES. Also see: Human
Human
timeline and Nature timeline

Although Laurasia
Laurasia
is known as a Mesozoic
Mesozoic
phenomenon, today it is believed that the same continents that formed the later Laurasia
Laurasia
also existed as a coherent supercontinent after the breakup of Rodinia around 750 million years ago. To avoid confusion with the Mesozoic continent, this is referred to as PROTO-LAURASIA. It is believed that Laurasia
Laurasia
did not break up again before it recombined with the southern continents to form the late Precambrian
Precambrian
supercontinent of Pannotia , which remained until the early Cambrian
Cambrian
. Laurasia
Laurasia
was assembled, then broken up, due to the actions of plate tectonics , continental drift , and seafloor spreading .

BREAKUP AND REFORMATION

During the Cambrian, Laurasia
Laurasia
was largely located in equatorial latitudes and began to break up, with North China and Siberia drifting into latitudes further north than those occupied by continents during the previous 500 million years. By the Devonian
Devonian
, North China was located near the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
and it remained the northernmost land in the world during the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Ice Age between 300 and 280 million years ago. No evidence, though, exists for any large-scale Carboniferous
Carboniferous
glaciation of the northern continents. This cold period saw the rejoining of Laurentia
Laurentia
and Baltica with the formation of the Appalachian Mountains and the vast coal deposits, which are a mainstay of the economies of such regions as West Virginia
West Virginia
, Britain , and Germany
Germany
.

Siberia moved southwards and joined with Kazakhstania, a small continental region believed today to have been created during the Silurian by extensive volcanism. When these two continents joined together, Laurasia
Laurasia
was nearly reformed, and by the beginning of the Triassic, the East China craton had rejoined the redeveloping Laurasia as it collided with Gondwana to form Pangaea. North China became, as it drifted southwards from near-Arctic latitudes, the last continent to join with Pangaea.

FINAL SPLIT

Around 200 million years ago, Pangaea
Pangaea
started to break up. Between eastern North America
North America
and northwest Africa
Africa
, a new ocean formed - the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
, though Greenland
Greenland
(attached to North America) and Europe
Europe
were still joined together. The separation of Europe
Europe
and Greenland
Greenland
occurred around 55 million years ago (at the end of the Paleocene
Paleocene
). Laurasia
Laurasia
finally divided into the continents after which it is named: Laurentia
Laurentia
(now North America) and Eurasia
Eurasia
(excluding the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
).

SEE ALSO

* Alexander du Toit * Alfred Wegener
Alfred Wegener
* Avalonia
Avalonia

REFERENCES

Look up LAURASIA in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

* ^ OED

* v * t * e

Continents of the world

Africa
Africa

Antarctica
Antarctica

Asia
Asia

Australia

Europe
Europe

North America
North America

South America
South America

Afro- Eurasia
Eurasia

Americas
Americas

Eurasia
Eurasia

Oceania
Oceania

* FORMER SUPERCONTINENTS Gondwana * Laurasia * Pangaea
Pangaea
* Pannotia * Rodinia * Columbia * Kenorland * Nena * Sclavia * Ur * Vaalbara

* HISTORICAL CONTINENTS Amazonia * Arctica * Asiamerica * Atlantica * Avalonia
Avalonia
* Baltica * Cimmeria * Congo craton * Euramerica
Euramerica
* Kalaharia * Kazakhstania * Laurentia
Laurentia
* North China * Siberia * South China * East Antarctica
Antarctica
* India

* SUBMERGED CONTINENTS Kerguelen Plateau * Zealandia
Zealandia

* POSSIBLE FUTURE SUPERCONTINENTS Pangaea
Pangaea
Ultima * Amasia * Novopangaea
Novopangaea

* MYTHICAL AND HYPOTHESISED CONTINENTS Atlantis
Atlantis
* Kumari Kandam * Lemuria * Meropis * Mu * Hyperborea * Terra Australis

* See also Regions of the world * Continental fragment

* BOOK * CATEGORY

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Laurasia
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