The continents were fit together in what is called the Pangaea configuration some 200 to 270 million years ago. They separated gradually because of the movement of the Earth's tectonic plates. As of 2014, they are expected to form another such configuration in 250 million years.Know More
Pangaea was named by meteorologist Alfred Wegener in 1912. The term derives from the Greek for "all lands." Wegener first hypothesized that the present seven continents were once joined as a super-continent. He observed that the borders of continents matched curiously, almost in the manner of an enormous jigsaw puzzle.
Pangaea is only the most recent of Earth's super-continents. The movement of Earth's tectonic plates has caused more than one sequence of continents to coalesce and drift apart. In Pangaea's time, it covered nearly one third of the Earth's surface and was surrounded by Panthalassa, one giant ocean. Pangaea existed during the Permian and Triassic geological time periods, which were times of great change. The Permian mass extinction, which wiped out an estimated 96 percent species about 248 million years ago, occurred during this time.Learn more about Maps & Cartography
The equator runs through the continents of Africa, Asia and South America. The equator spans nearly 25,000 miles, most of it across the ocean. The largest continent it crosses is Asia, and the smallest continent it crosses is South America.Full Answer >
All the continents in the world are Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Australia/Oceania and Antarctica. Most of these continents are in the northern hemisphere.Full Answer >
The crust of the Earth is thickest beneath the continents. The thinnest areas are beneath the oceans. Average thickness varies greatly depending on geography and whether the crust is continental or oceanic.Full Answer >
Asia is the largest continent and has the longest coastline of all the continents. Asia has a total area of approximately 17.2 million square miles and a coastline stretching 39,022 miles. Asia is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Arctic Ocean.Full Answer >