Last billion years of Earth's tectonic and climatic history

Major Orogenies Major Ocean Rifting
Major Sea-level Rise1
Major Glaciations2
Andean/Cordilleran and
Alpine/Himalayan (0-40 Ma)
Late Cenozoic: North America, Antarctica,
Eurasia, Greenland (0-25 Ma)
N. Atlantic Ocean Tejas (65 Ma) Climatic cooling begins (70 Ma)
Atlantic/Indian3 Zuni (80 Ma)
Deserts worldwide (200-250 Ma)
Appalachian/Uralian4 (260-320 Ma) Absaroka5 (280 Ma)
Kaskaskia (350 Ma)
Gondwana: Africa, South America, India,
Australia, Antarctica, Arabia (260-360 Ma)
Acadian/Caledonian6 (360-400 Ma)
Taconic: N. America (440-460 Ma) Tippecanoe (440 Ma) Andean-Saharan: South America, Africa,
Arabia (420-450 Ma)
Iapetus Ocean7 Sauk (520 Ma)
Avalonian: N. America8 (600-700 Ma)
Grenville: N. America9 (900-1000 Ma)
Late Proterozoic: Africa, Australia, Greenland,
China, North America, Europe (600-950 Ma)

Ma = millions of years before present; all ages approximate.
Not to scale. Based on many sources.


  1. Major marine transgressions on North America with peak date.
  2. Except as noted, Earth's climate has been temperate to tropical.
  3. Breakup of Pangaea, rapid sea-floor spreading.
  4. Creation of Pangaea, the latest supercontinent.
  5. Characterized by cyclothems = frequent sea-level fluctuation.
  6. Collision of North America and Europe.
  7. Breakup of supercontinent, rapid sea-floor spreading.
  8. Creation of supercontinent Rodinia.
  9. Creation of supercontinent Kanatia.

Selected references

Return to syllabus.
GO 326/767 © by J.S. Aber (2006).