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
A five-continent model used in some areas of the world lists the continents as: Eurasia, the Americas, Africa, Australia and Antarctica. This is just one of many models used to delineate the Earth's continents.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 >
The only two continents located entirely in the Southern Hemisphere are Antarctica and Australia, according to About.com. Wikipedia explains that the entire mainland of Australia lies in the Southern Hemisphere, which qualifies it to be considered one of the two continents located in that hemisphere.Full Answer >
The Prime Meridian passes through the continents of Europe, Africa and Antarctica. This imaginary line is located at 0 degrees longitude. The Prime Meridian and International Date Line divide the Earth into the Eastern and Western hemispheres.Full Answer >