Definition of supercontinent in US English:



  • Each of several large landmasses (notably Pangaea, Gondwana, and Laurasia) thought to have divided to form the present continents in the geological past.

    • ‘The Tethys Sea also expanded westward, splitting Pangaea into the supercontinents of Gondwana (in the South) and Laurasia (in the North).’
    • ‘Recent palaeogeographical reconstructions of the Neoproterozoic North Atlantic tract relate formation of the Baltoscandian margin to the fragmentation of the supercontinent Rodinia into Baltica, Laurentia and Siberia.’
    • ‘Geological evidence shows that all continents remained united as the supercontinent Pangea during Triassic times.’
    • ‘The Cambrian rifting event defined the outline shape of the southern part of Gondwana, and can be regarded as the initiation of the supercontinent stage, which lasted until Jurassic break-up.’
    • ‘The movement of the two resulting supercontinents was caused by sea floor spreading at the midocean ridge lying at the bottom of the Tethys Sea, the body of water between Gondwana and Laurasia.’
    • ‘Amalgamation of the late Palaeozoic supercontinent Pangaea led to the collision of Gondwana with Laurasia forming the Variscan orogen.’
    • ‘The global context of glaciation in the Neoproterozoic is the massive first-order reorganization of the planet's geography, climate and ocean systems resulting from the breakup and dispersal of the supercontinent Rodinia.’
    • ‘During this period, the world's land was collected into two supercontinents, Gondwana and Euramerica.’
    • ‘At longer time-scales, plate tectonic activity appears quasi-periodic and self-organizes into the supercontinent cycle.’
    • ‘During the Permian, India was a part of the Gondwanan supercontinent.’
    • ‘One hot spot theory states that the supercontinents move over top of a hot spot that heats the crust, causing it to uplift, thin, and eventually pull apart.’
    • ‘The salt was formed in a sea that existed when the supercontinent Pangea broke up some 200 million years ago.’
    • ‘Of the three domains, the Eastern Domain sits farthest inboard, i.e. closest to the core of the former Gondwana supercontinent.’
    • ‘Indeed, unique, almost bizarre, tectonic mechanisms are possible when dealing with supercontinents.’
    • ‘The southern Adelaide Fold Belt is part of a Neoproterozoic to Early Palaeozoic orogen that extended over 5000 km along the southeastern edge of the early Gondwana supercontinent.’
    • ‘First it formed two supercontinents, Laurasia and Gondwanaland.’
    • ‘Pangaea itself may have been formed by the aggregation of separate continents that drifted back together after the break-up of an older supercontinent that existed about 550 million years ago.’
    • ‘These constraints envision a similar tectonic evolution with that of eastern Laurentia, which support models of a pre-Grenvillian supercontinent with a long-lived, active margin that reached western Baltica.’
    • ‘This in turn has important implications for our understanding of the depositional setting and distribution of the Permian coals that occur across much of the southern supercontinent.’