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.

Notes:

  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).