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PANTHALASSA, also known as the PANTHALASSIC or PANTHALASSAN OCEAN, (from Greek πᾶν "all" and θάλασσα "sea"), was the superocean that surrounded the supercontinent Pangaea
Pangaea
. During the Paleozoic
Paleozoic
Mesozoic
Mesozoic
transition c. 250 Ma it occupied almost 70% of Earth's surface. Its ocean-floor has completely disappeared because of the continuous subduction along the continental margins on its circumference. Panthalassa
Panthalassa
is also referred to as the PALEO-PACIFIC ("old Pacific") or PROTO-PACIFIC because the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
developed from its centre in the Mesozoic
Mesozoic
to the present.

CONTENTS

* 1 Formation

* 2 Reconstruction of ocean basin

* 2.1 Eastern margin * 2.2 Western margin

* 3 Palaeo-oceanography * 4 See also

* 5 References

* 5.1 Notes * 5.2 Sources

* 6 External links

FORMATION

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 (−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

The supercontinent Rodinia
Rodinia
began to break-up 870–845 Ma probably as a consequence of a superplume caused by mantle slab avalanches along the margins of the supercontinent. In a second episode c. 750 Ma the western half of Rodinia
Rodinia
started to rift part: western Kalahari and South China ) broke away from the western margins of Laurentia
Laurentia
; and by 720 Ma Australia and East Antarctica had also separated. In the Late Jurassic the Pacific Plate opened originating from a triple junction between the Panthalassic Farallon , Phoenix , and Izanagi plates. Panthalassa
Panthalassa
can be reconstructed based on magnetic lineations and fracture zones preserved in the western Pacific.

In western Laurentia
Laurentia
(North America), a tectonic episode that preceded this rifting produced failed rifts that harboured large depositional basins in Western Laurentia. The global ocean of Mirovia , an ocean that surrounded Rodinia, started to shrink as the Pan-African ocean and Panthalassa
Panthalassa
expanded.

Between 650 million and 550 million years ago, another supercontinent started to form: Pannotia
Pannotia
, which was shaped like a "V". Inside the "V" was Panthalassa, outside of the "V" were the Pan-African Ocean and remnants of the Mirovia Ocean.

RECONSTRUCTION OF OCEAN BASIN

Most of the oceanic plates that formed the ocean floor of Panthalassa have been subducted and traditional plate tectonic reconstructions based on magnetic anomalies can therefore only be used for remains from the Cretaceous
Cretaceous
and later. The former margins of the ocean, however, contain allochthonous terranes with preserved Triassic–Jurassic intra-Panthalassic volcanic arcs, including Kolyma–Omolon (northeast Asia), Anadyr–Koryak (east Asia), Oku–Niikappu (Japan), and Wrangellia and Stikinia (western North America). Furthermore, seismic tomography is being used to identify subducted slabs in the mantle, from which the location of former Panthalassic subduction zones can be derived. A series of such subduction zones, called Telkhinia, defines two separate oceans or systems of oceanic plates — the Pontus and Thalassa oceans. Named marginal oceans or oceanic plates include (clockwise) Mongol-Okhotsk (now a suture between Mongolia and Sea of Okhotsk), Oimyakon (between Asian craton and Kolyma-Omolon), Slide Mountain Ocean (British Columbia), and Mezcalera (western Mexico).

EASTERN MARGIN

The western margin (modern coordinates) of Laurentia
Laurentia
originated during the Neoproterozoic break-up of Rodinia. The North American Cordillera is an accretionary orogen which grew by the progressive addition of allochthonous terranes along this margin from the Late Palaeozoic. Devonian back-arc volcanism reveals how this eastern Panthalassic margin developed into the active margin it still is in the mid-Palaeozoic. Most of the continental fragments , volcanic arcs , and ocean basins added to Laurentia
Laurentia
this way contained faunas of Tethyan or Asian affinity. Similar terranes added to the northern Laurentia, in contrast, have affinities with Baltica, Siberia, and the northern Caledonies . These latter terranes were probably accreted along the eastern Panthalassa
Panthalassa
margin by a Caribbean –Scotia -style subduction system.

WESTERN MARGIN

The evolution of the Panthalassa–Tethys boundary is poorly known because little oceanic crust is preserved — both the Izanagi and the conjugate Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
floor is subducted and the ocean ridge that separated them probably subducted c. 60–55 Ma. Today the region is dominated by the collision of the Australian Plate
Australian Plate
with a complex network of plate boundaries in south-east Asia, including the Sundaland
Sundaland
block. Spreading along the Pacific-Phoenix ridge ended 83 Ma at the Osbourn Trough at the Tonga - Kermadec Trench
Kermadec Trench
.

During the Permian atolls developed near the Equator on the mid-Panthalassic seamounts. As Panthalassa
Panthalassa
subducted along its western margin during the Triassic and Early Jurassic, these seamounts and palaeo-atolls were accreted as allochthonous limestone blocks and fragments along the Asian margin. One such migrating atoll complex now form a 2-kilometre-long (1.2 mi) and 100-to-150-metre-wide (330–490 ft) body of limestone in central Kyushu
Kyushu
, south-west Japan.

Fusuline foraminifera , a now extinct order of single-celled organisms, developed gigantism — the genus Eopolydiexodina , for example, reached up to 16 cm (6.3 in) in size — and structural sophistication, including symbiont relationships with photosynthesising algae, during the Late Carboniferous and Permian. The Permian–Triassic extinction event
Permian–Triassic extinction event
c. 260 Ma, however, put an end to this development with only dwarf taxa persisting throughout the Permian until the final fusuline extinction c. 252 Ma. Permian fusulines also developed a remarkable provincialism by which fusulines can be grouped into six domains. Because of the large size of Panthalassa
Panthalassa
a hundred million years could separate the accretion of different groups of fusulines. Assuming a minimum accretion rate of 3 centimetres per year (1.2 in/year), the seamount chains on which these groups evolved would be separated by at least 3,000 km (1,900 mi) — these groups apparently evolved in completely different environments. A significant sea-level drop at the end of the Permian led to the end- Capitanian extinction event. The cause for this extinction is disputed, but a likely candidate is an episode of global cooling which transformed large amount of sea-water into continental ice.

Seamounts accreted in eastern Australia as parts of the New England orogen reveal the hotspot history of Panthalassa. From the Late Devonian to the Carboniferous Gondwana
Gondwana
and Panthalassa
Panthalassa
converged along the eastern margin of Australia along a west-dipping subduction system which produced (west to east) a magmatic arc, a fore-arc basin , and an accretionary wedge. Subduction ceased along this margin in the Late Carboniferous and jumped eastward. From the Late Carboniferous to the Early Permian the New England orogen was dominated by an extensional setting related to a subduction to strike-slip transition. Subduction was re-initiated in the Permian and the granitic rocks of the New England Batholith were produced by a magmatic arc, indicating the presence of an active plate margin along most of the orogen. Permian to Cretaceous
Cretaceous
remains of this convergent margin, preserved as fragments in Zealandia ( New Zealand
New Zealand
, New Caledonia
New Caledonia
, and the Lord Howe Rise ), were rifted off Australia during the Late Cretaceous
Cretaceous
to Early Tertiary break-up of eastern Gondwana
Gondwana
and the opening of the Tasman Sea
Tasman Sea
. The Cretaceous
Cretaceous
Junction Plate , located north of Australia, separated the eastern Tethys from Panthalassa.

PALAEO-OCEANOGRAPHY

Panthalassa
Panthalassa
was an hemisphere-sized ocean, much larger than the modern Pacific. It could be expected that the large size would result in relatively simple ocean current circulation patterns, such as a single gyre in each hemisphere, and a mostly stagnant and stratified ocean. Modelling studies, however, suggest that an east-west sea surface temperature (SST) gradient was present in which the coldest water was brought to the surface by upwelling in the east while the warmest water extended west into the Tethys Ocean. Subtropical gyres dominated the circulation pattern. The two hemispherical belts were separated by the undulating Intertropical Convergence Zone
Intertropical Convergence Zone
(ITCZ).

In northern Panthalassa
Panthalassa
there was mid-latitude westerlies north of 60°N with easterlies between 60°N and the Equator. Atmospheric circulation north of 30°N is associated with the North Panthalassa High which created Ekman convergence between 15°N and 50°N and Ekman divergence between 5°N and 10°N. A pattern which resulted in northward Sverdrup transport
Sverdrup transport
in divergence regions and southward in convergence regions. Western boundary currents resulted in an anti-cyclonic subtropical North Panthalassa
Panthalassa
gyre at mid-latitudes and a meridional anti-cyclonic circulation centred on 20°N.

In tropical northern Panthalassa
Panthalassa
trade winds created westward flows while equatorward flows were created by westerlies at higher latitudes. Consequently, trade winds moved water away from Gondwana towards Laurasia
Laurasia
in the northern Panthalassa
Panthalassa
Equatorial Current. When the western margins of Panthalassa
Panthalassa
were reached intense western boundary currents would form the Eastern Laurasia
Laurasia
Current. At mid-latitudes the North Panthalassa
Panthalassa
Current would bring the water back east where a weak Northwestern Gondwana
Gondwana
Current would finally close the gyre. The accumulation of water along the western margin coupled with the Coriolis effect
Coriolis effect
would have created a Panthalassa
Panthalassa
Equatorial Counter Current.

In the southern Panthalassa
Panthalassa
the four currents of the subtropical gyre, the South Panthalassa
Panthalassa
Gyre, rotated counterclockwise. The South Equatorial Panthalassa
Panthalassa
Current flowed westward between the Equator and 10°S into the western, intense South Panthalasssa Current. The South Polar Current then completes the gyre as the Southwestern Gondwana Current. Near the poles easterlies created a subpolar gyre that rotated clockwise.

SEE ALSO

* Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
* Paleontology
Paleontology
* Pangaea
Pangaea
* Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics

REFERENCES

NOTES

* ^ "Panthalassa". Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary
. * ^ Isozaki 2014 , Permo–Triassic Boundary Superanoxia and Extinction, pp. 290–291 * ^ Li et al. 2008 , Superplume events, continental rifting, and the prolonged break-up process of Rodinia
Rodinia
(ca. 860–570 Ma), pp. 199–201 * ^ A B Seton & Müller 2008 , Introduction, p. 263 * ^ Van der Meer et al. 2012 , p. 215 * ^ Nokleberg et al. 2000 * ^ Colpron & Nelson 2009 , pp. 273–275 * ^ Kani, Hisanabe & Isozaki 2013 , Geologic setting, p. 213 * ^ Kasuya, Isozaki & Igo 2012 , Geological Setting, p. 612 * ^ Kasuya, Isozaki & Igo 2012 , Introduction, pp. 611–612 * ^ Kasuya, Isozaki & Igo 2012 , Migrating seamounts and fusuline territories in Panthalassa, pp. 620–621 * ^ Kofukuda, Isozaki & Igo 2014 , Global cooling as a possible cause, p. 64 * ^ Flood 1999 , Abstract * ^ Waschbusch, Beaumont -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em;">

* Arias, C. (2008). "Palaeoceanography and biogeography in the Early Jurassic Panthalassa
Panthalassa
and Tethys oceans" (PDF). Gondwana
Gondwana
research. 14 (3): 306–315. doi :10.1016/j.gr.2008.03.004 . Retrieved 27 December 2016. * Colpron, M.; Nelson, J. L. (2009). "A Palaeozoic Northwest Passage: Incursion of Caledonian, Baltican and Siberian terranes into eastern Panthalassa, and the early evolution of the North American Cordillera" (PDF). Geological Society, London, Special
Special
Publications. 318 (1): 273–307. doi :10.1144/SP318.10 . Retrieved 28 December 2016. * Flood, P. G. (1999). Exotic seamounts within Gondwanan accretionary complexes, Eastern Australia (PDF). Regional geology, tectonics and metallogenesis: New England orogen. University of New England, Armidale. pp. 23–29. Retrieved 28 December 2016. * Isozaki, Y. (2014). "Memories of Pre-Jurassic Lost Oceans: How To Retrieve Them From Extant Lands". Geoscience Canada. 41 (3): 283–311. doi :10.12789/geocanj.2014.41.050 . Retrieved 28 December 2016. * Kani, T.; Hisanabe, C.; Isozaki, Y. (2013). "The Capitanian (Permian) minimum of 87Sr/86Sr ratio in the mid-Panthalassan paleo-atoll carbonates and its demise by the deglaciation and continental doming" (PDF). Gondwana
Gondwana
Research. 24 (1): 212–221. doi :10.1016/j.gr.2012.08.025 . Retrieved 28 December 2016. * Kasuya, A.; Isozaki, Y.; Igo, H. (2012). "Constraining paleo-latitude of a biogeographic boundary in mid-Panthalassa: Fusuline province shift on the Late Guadalupian (Permian) migrating seamount" (PDF). Gondwana
Gondwana
Research. 21 (2): 611–623. doi :10.1016/j.gr.2011.06.001 . Retrieved 28 December 2016. * Kofukuda, D.; Isozaki, Y.; Igo, H. (2014). "A remarkable sea-level drop and relevant biotic responses across the Guadalupian–Lopingian (Permian) boundary in low-latitude mid-Panthalassa: Irreversible changes recorded in accreted paleo-atoll limestones in Akasaka and Ishiyama, Japan" (PDF). Journal of Asian Earth Sciences. 82: 47–65. doi :10.1016/j.jseaes.2013.12.010 . Retrieved 28 December 2016. * Li, Z. X.; Bogdanova, S. V.; Collins, A. S.; Davidson, A.; De Waele, B.; Ernst, R. E.; Fitzsimons, I. C. W.; Fuck, R. A.; Gladkochub, D. P.; Jacobs, J.; Karlstrom, K. E.; Lul, S.; Natapov, L. M.; Pease, V.; Pisarevsky, S. A.; Thrane, K.; Vernikovsky, V. (2008). "Assembly, configuration, and break-up history of Rodinia: A synthesis" (PDF). Precambrian Research. 160: 179–210. doi :10.1016/j.precamres.2007.04.021 . Retrieved 6 February 2016. * Nokleberg, W. J.; Parfenov, L. M.; Monger, J. W. H.; Norton, I. O.; Khanchuk, A. I.; Stone, D. B.; Scotese, C. R.; Scholl, D. W.; Fujita, K. (2000). " Phanerozoic
Phanerozoic
tectonic evolution of the circum-north Pacific" (PDF). USGS 231 Professional Paper. 1626: 1–122. Retrieved 27 December 2016. * Seton, M.; Müller, R. D. (2008). Reconstructing the junction between Panthalassa
Panthalassa
and Tethys since the Early Cretaceous
Cretaceous
(PDF). Eastern Australasian Basins III. Sydney: Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia, Special
Special
Publications. pp. 263–266. Retrieved 27 December 2016. * Talsma, A. S.; Müller, R. D.; Bunge, H.-P.; Seton, M. (2010). "The Geodynamic Evolution of the Junction Plate: Linking observations to high-resolution models" (PDF). 4th eResearch Australasia Conference. Retrieved 27 December 2016. * Van der Meer, D. G.; Torsvik, T. H.; Spakman, W.; Van Hinsbergen, D. J. J.; Amaru, M. L. (2012). "Intra- Panthalassa
Panthalassa
Ocean subduction zones revealed by fossil arcs and mantle structure" (PDF). Nature Geoscience . 5 (3): 215–219. doi :10.1038/ngeo1401 . Retrieved 27 December 2016. * Waschbusch, P.; Beaumont, C.; Korsch, R. J. (1999). Geodynamic modelling of aspects of the New England Orogen
Orogen
and adjacent Bowen, Gunnedah and Surat basins (PDF). Regional geology, tectonics and metallogenesis: New England orogen. University of New England, Armidale. pp. 203–210. Retrieved 28 December 2016.

EXTERNAL LINKS

* "Early Triassic". Paleomap project. 24 January 2001. Retrieved 27 December 2016.

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