Late Jurassic: Pangaea Begins to Rift Apart



late jurassic

The super-continent of Pangaea began to break apart in the Middle Jurassic. In the Late Jurassic the Central Atlantic Ocean was a narrow ocean separating Africa from eastern North America. Eastern Gondwana had begun to separate form Western Gondwana.

During the Mesozoic North America and Eurasia formed one landmass, sometimes called Laurasia. As the Central Atlantic Ocean opened, Laurasia rotated clockwise, sending North America northward, and Eurasia southward. Coals, which were abundant in eastern Asia during the early Jurassic, were replaced by deserts and salt deposits during the Late Jurassic as Asia moved from the wet temperate belt to the dry subtropics. This clockwise, see-saw motion of Laurasia also led to the closure of the wide V-shaped ocean, Tethys that separated Laurasia from the fragmenting southern super-continent, Gondwana.

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