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Laurasia
Laurasia
( /lɔːˈreɪʒə/ or /lɔːˈreɪʃiə/)[1] 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
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, the name given to the North American craton, and 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, chiefly 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[edit]

Life timeline

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-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
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: million years Orange labels: 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. Laurasia
Laurasia
was assembled, then broken up, due to the actions of plate tectonics, continental drift, and seafloor spreading. Breakup and reformation[edit] 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, 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
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
Baltica
with the formation of the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
and the vast coal deposits, which are a mainstay of the economies of such regions as West Virginia, Britain, and 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
East China craton
had rejoined the redeveloping Laurasia as it collided with Gondwana
Gondwana
to form Pangaea. North China became, as it drifted southwards from near-Arctic latitudes, the last continent to join with Pangaea. Final split[edit] Around 200 million years ago, Pangaea
Pangaea
started to break up. Between eastern North America
North America
and northwest Africa, a new ocean formed - the 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). Laurasia
Laurasia
finally divided into the continents after which it is named: Laurentia
Laurentia
(now North America) and Eurasia
Eurasia
(excluding the Indian subcontinent). See also[edit]

Alexander du Toit Alfred Wegener Avalonia

References[edit]

Look up laurasia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

^ OED[page needed]

v t e

Continents of the world

   

Africa

Antarctica

Asia

Australia

Europe

North America

South America

   

Afro-Eurasia

America

Eurasia

Oceania

   

Former supercontinents Gondwana Laurasia Pangaea Pannotia Rodinia Columbia Kenorland Nena Sclavia Ur Vaalbara

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

   

Submerged continents Kerguelen Plateau Zealandia

Possible future supercontinents Pangaea
Pangaea
Ultima Amasia Novopangaea

Mythical and hypothesised continents Atlantis Kumari Kandam Lemuria Meropis Mu Hyperborea Terra Australis

See also Regions of the world Continental fragment

.