Pangaea (sometimes spelled Pangea), the most recent of a series of supercontinents on Earth, formed about 270 million years ago and broke apart about 200 million years ago. At this time most of the dry land on Earth was joined into one huge landmass that covered nearly a third of the planet's surface. The giant ocean that surrounded the continent is known as Panthalassa.
The movement of Earth's tectonic plates formed Pangaea and ultimately broke it apart.
Pangaea existed during the Permian and Triassic geological time periods, which were times of great change. The Permian mass extinction, which wiped out an estimated 96% species about 248 million years ago, was a major event during this time.
Image: Artwork showing the Earth at the time Pangaea broke up (credit: Mikkel Juul Jensen/Bonnier Publications/SPL)
Pangaea or Pangea (pronunciation: //) was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. It assembled from earlier continental units approximately 335 million years ago, and it began to break apart about 175 million years ago. In contrast to the present Earth and its distribution of continental mass, much of Pangaea was in the southern hemisphere and surrounded by a superocean, Panthalassa. Pangaea was the last supercontinent to have existed and the first to be reconstructed by geologists.