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 (/pænˈdʒiːə/) was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. It formed approximately 300 million years ago and then began to break apart after about 100 million years. Unlike the present Earth, much of the land mass was in the Southern Hemisphere. Pangaea was the first reconstructed supercontinent and it was surrounded by a super ocean, known as Panthalassa.