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550 million years ago until around 180 million years ago, Gondwana coexisted with Laurasia as a supercontinent. South America, Africa, Arabia, Madagascar, India, Australia, and Antarctica were all part of Gondwana. Read the entire post to know more about the gondwana continent and see what this supercontinent was made up of. 

Gondwana Continent – Highlights

Gondwana was a massive landmass that broke apart into the present-day continents of America, Africa, Australia, India, the Arabian Peninsula, the Balkans, Madagascar, and Antarctica. The focus of the integration was on the southern hemisphere. Around 180 million years ago, the landmass began to separate, covering nearly 100,000,000 square kilometers (39,000,000 square miles). Researchers have discovered that the supercontinent was formed by numerous cratons colliding in the late Neoproterozoic epoch and then totally merging with Euramerica in the Carboniferous, resulting in Pangaea. Fragmentation began in the Mesozoic period. Along with a northern supercontinent known as Laurasia, Gondwana was half of the Pangaea supercontinent.

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Gondwana Continent – Origin 

Eduard Suess, an Austrian scientist, called the supercontinent Gondwana. He got the name from Gondwana, a region in Northern India. A geologist named H.B Medlicott used the term Gondwana to characterize a sedimentary succession. Francis Bacon, an American, explained the concept of Gondwana, and Alfred Wegener, a German, elaborated on it. South African Alexander Du Toit elaborated on the concept. The word Gondwanaland is used to distinguish between the region and the continent. 

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Formation of Gondwana Supercontinent

Moving further with the Gondwana continent, it must be noted that the final development of Gondwana took place some 600 million years ago, during the late Ediacaran epoch. Multicellular organisms had emerged by this period, although they were primitive but few fossils from this time period have been discovered, but they show segmented worms, frond-like organisms, and circular creatures that resemble current jellyfish. The fusion of landmasses occurred over a long period of time throughout the Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic periods. Paleomagnetic data for the entire process is scarce. The modern areas of Madagascar, India, Antarctica, and Australia were formed from the broken remains of an ancient supercontinent known as Rodinia. The second orogenic belt was generated by the West Gondwana region, which included Africa and South America.

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Creation of the Supercontinent called Gondwana 

The eruption of the Iapetus Ocean, which occurred between Laurentia and Gondwana west, coincided with the final stages of Gondwanan creation. The Cambrian explosion occurred during this time. Laurentia anchored at the Precambrian coastlines, close to the western boundaries of a united Gondwana. During this time, the Mozambique Ocean formed, but then vanished, connecting India and Australia. Laurentia’s blocks contributed to the formation of South America. A complex continuous chain of orogenic events brought Eastern Africa, Arabia, Madagascar, and India together to form a supercontinent. South India, East Africa, and Madagascar were all affected by the latest Malagasy orogeny. The Terra Australis Orogen evolved along the western, eastern, and southern edges, measuring 18,000 kilometers (11,000 miles).

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The Pangaea Stage of Gondwana Supercontinent – The Late Jurassic Period

The supercontinent Pangea was formed when Gondwana collided with North America, Europe, and Siberia. During the Carboniferous, Gondwana and Laurussia joined to form the Pangaea supercontinent. The Rheic and Palaeo-Tethys water bodies were shut down when Gondwana collided with Laurussia. The northern terranes docked in the Marathon, Ouachita, Variscan, and Alleghanian orogenies as a result of the closure. Laurentia’s southern ends were unaffected by the collision. The last collision resulted in the construction of the Variscan Appalachian Mountains, which can now be found in Mexico and reach all the way to southern Europe. Baltica colliding with Siberia and Kazakhstan resulted in the formation of Uralian orogeny and Laurasia during this epoch.

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Destruction or Breakup of Gondwana Continent

The splitting of Gondwana began nearly 180 million years ago, during the late Jurassic period. Antarctica, Madagascar, Australia, and India were shut off from Africa, resulting in the development of the Indian Ocean. Madagascar and the Seychelles Islands were formed when small land masses drifted apart. In the Early Cretaceous era, West Gondwana, which included South America and Africa, split, resulting in the formation of the South Atlantic Ocean.

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What makes Gondwana being called a Supercontinent?

It is a supercontinent because it collided with North America, Europe, and Siberia.

What does the term “Gondwana” mean?

‘Gond’ means a tribal community in India and ‘wana’ refers to the land of.

Which continents of today were part of the Gondwana land back then?

Gondwana, a prehistoric supercontinent included South America, Africa, Arabia, Madagascar, India, Australia, and Antarctica.

What continents made up gondwana?

Antarctica, South America, Africa, Madagascar, and Australasia, as well as the Arabian Peninsula and Indian subcontinent.

Which continent did not form part of Gondwana?

Europe did not form part of Gondwana.