Archives par mot-clé : Supercontinents

The role of megacontinents in the supercontinent cycle

by Wang et al. 2020 in GeolSocAmerica OPEN ACCESS.pdf

Supercontinent Pangea was preceded by the formation of Gondwana, a “megacontinent”

about half the size of Pangea. There is much debate, however, over what role the assembly of the precursor megacontinent played in the Pangean supercontinent cycle. Here we dem- onstrate that the past three cycles of supercontinent amalgamation were each preceded by ∼200 m.y. by the assembly of a megacontinent akin to Gondwana, and that the building of a megacontinent is a geodynamically important precursor to supercontinent amalgamation. The recent assembly of Eurasia is considered as a fourth megacontinent associated with future supercontinent Amasia. We use constraints from seismology of the deep mantle for Eurasia and paleogeography for Gondwana to develop a geodynamic model for megacontinent assembly and subsequent supercontinent amalgamation. As a supercontinent breaks up, a megacontinent assembles along the subduction girdle that encircled it, at a specific location where the downwelling is most intense. The megacontinent then migrates along the girdle where it collides with other continents to form a supercontinent. The geometry of this model is consistent with the kinematic transitions from Rodinia to Gondwana to Pangea.

See also  What might Earth’s next supercontinent look like? New study provides clues