50 years ago, scientists dug into Pangaea’s past lives

Before Pangaea — What? Science News, September 30, 1972

The continents as we know them resulted when the proto­continent Pangaea broke apart and its fragments made the long slow journey to their present positions. The process took about 200 m­illion years. But the Earth’s crust is an estimated 4.5 billion years old.… [Scientists are exploring] the perplexing p­roblem of what went on during the billions of years before Pangaea went to pieces.


The continents have an on-again, off-again relationship that has existed since well before Pangaea, fossil and rock evidence shows. Most scientists agree that the earliest known supercontinent, called Nuna, formed around

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