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View of Earth, 195 million years ago timebar 195 million years ago

brown square Reconstructing the past
brown square What’s going on here?
brown square See continents move through time
brown square Ancient life
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Earth
195 million years ago

Jurassic

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Reconstructing ancient Earth
spacer image These remarkable figures are produced by C.R. Scotese and the PALEOMAP project. Geologists call these illustrations paleogeographic reconstructions, because they illustrate the reconstructed geography of our Earth at some time in the past.
spacer image Making a paleogeographic reconstruction begins by examining several lines of evidence including: paleomagnetism, magnetic anomalies, paleobiogeography, paleoclimatology, and geologic history. By combining all available evidence, geologists are able to construct paleogeographic maps, such as these, that interpret how the geography might have appeared at a specific location and time in the past. Paleogeographic maps are continually being refined as more evidence is collected.
spacer image To find out more about how paleogeographic reconstructions are made visit the PALEOMAP project site.

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What’s going on here?
  • The breakup of Pangaea is in full swing. Rift zones, new divergent plate boundaries, are beginning to open up narrow seas that will one day grow to form the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Laurasia moves northward, leaving its equatorial climates behind.

  • The breakup of the Pangaean supercontinent creates continent-sized islands, separated by wide seas. Species that once roamed across much of the supercontinent were isolated in relatively small populations. The dawn of the Mesozoic saw a wave of new species evolve as isolation facilitated adaptation to new environmental conditions.

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  • Learn more about this time period at the PALEOMAP project site.
  • Learn more about geologic time.
  • Learn more about plate tectonics.

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Scotese, C. R., 1997. Paleogeographic Atlas, PALEOMAP Progress Report 90-0497, Department of Geology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, 37 pp.

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http://www.nature.nps.gov/grd/usgsnps/pltec/sc195ma.html
This page was last updated on 12/26/98