It was formed by the accretion of several cratons. Eventually, Gondwana became the largest piece of continental crust of the Paleozoic Era, covering an area of about 100,000,000 km2 (39,000,000 sq mi). During the Carboniferous Period, it merged with Euramerica to form a larger supercontinent called Pangaea. Gondwana (and Pangaea) gradually broke up during the Mesozoic Era. The remnants of Gondwana make up about two thirds of today's continental area, including South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Indian Subcontinent and Arabia.
The formation of Gondwana began c. East African Orogeny, the collision of India and Madagascar with East Africa,and was completed c. with the overlapping Brasiliano and Kuunga orogenies, the collision of South America with Africa and the addition of Australia and Antarctica, respectively.with the
The continent of Gondwana was named by Austrian scientist Eduard Suess, after the Gondwana region of central India which is derived from Sanskrit for "forest of the Gonds". The name had been previously used in a geological context, first by H.B. Medlicott in 1872, from which the Gondwana sedimentary sequences (Permian-Triassic) are also described. The term "Gondwanaland" is preferred by some scientists in order to make a clear distinction between the region and the supercontinent.
The assembly of Gondwana was a protracted process during the Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic, which however remains incompletely understood because of the lack of paleo-magnetic data. Several orogenies, collectively known as the Pan-African orogeny, led to the amalgamation of most of the continental fragments of a much older supercontinent, Rodinia. One of those orogenic belts, the Mozambique Belt, formed and was originally interpreted as the suture between East (India, Madagascar, Antarctica, and Australia) and West Gondwana (Africa and South America). Three orogenies were recognized during the 1990s: the East African Orogeny ( ) and Kuunga orogeny (including the Malagasy Orogeny in southern Madagascar) ( ), the collision between East Gondwana and East Africa in two steps, and the Brasiliano orogeny ( ), the successive collision between South American and African cratons.
The final stages of Gondwanan assembly overlapped with the opening of the Iapetus Ocean between Laurentia and western Gondwana. During this interval, the Cambrian explosion occurred. Laurentia was docked against the western shores of a united Gondwana for a short period near the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary, forming the short-lived and still disputed supercontinent Pannotia.
The Mozambique Ocean separated the Congo–Tanzania–Bangweulu Block of central Africa from Neoproterozoic India (India, the Antongil Block in far eastern Madagascar, the Seychelles, and the Napier and Rayner Complexes in East Antarctica). The Azania continent (much of central Madagascar, the Horn of Africa and parts of Yemen and Arabia) was an island in the Mozambique Ocean.
The Australia/Mawson continent was still separated from India, eastern Africa, and Kalahari by c. , when most of western Gondwana had already been amalgamated. By c. 550 Ma, India had reached its Gondwanan position, which initiated the Kuunga orogeny (also known as the Pinjarra orogeny). Meanwhile, on the other side of the newly-forming Africa, Kalahari collided with Congo and Rio de la Plata which closed the Adamastor Ocean. c. 540–530 Ma, the closure of the Mozambique Ocean brought India next to Australia–East Antarctica, and both North and South China were located in proximity to Australia.
As the rest of Gondwana formed, a complex series of orogenic events assembled the eastern parts of Gondwana (eastern Africa, Arabian-Nubian Shield, Seychelles, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, East Antarctica, and Australia) c. East African Orogeny c. . Then Australia and East Antarctica were merged with the remaining Gondwana c. in the Kuunga Orogeny.. First the Arabian-Nubian Shield collided with eastern Africa (in the Kenya-Tanzania region) in the
The later Malagasy orogeny at about 550–515 Mya affected Madagascar, eastern East Africa and southern India. In it, Neoproterozoic India collided with the already combined Azania and Congo–Tanzania–Bangweulu Block, suturing along the Mozambique Belt.
The 18,000 km (11,000 mi)-long Terra Australis Orogen developed along Gondwana's western, southern, and eastern margins. Proto-Gondwanan Cambrian arc belts from this margin have been found in eastern Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and Antarctica. Though these belts formed a continuous arc chain, the direction of subduction was different between the Australian-Tasmanian and New Zealand-Antarctica arc segments.
A large number of terranes were accreted to Eurasia during Gondwana's existence but the Cambrian or Precambrian origin of many of these terranes remains uncertain. For example, some Palaeozoic terranes and microcontinents that now make up Central Asia, often called the "Kazakh" and "Mongolian terranes", were progressively amalgamated into the continent Kazakhstania in the Late Silurian. Whether these blocks originated on the shores of Gondwana is not known.
In the Early Palaeozoic the Armorican terrane, which today form large parts of France, was part of either Peri-Gondwana or core Gondwana; the Rheic Ocean closed in front of it and the Palaeo-Tethys Ocean opened behind it. Precambrian rocks from the Iberian Peninsula suggest it too probably formed part of core Gondwana before its detachment as an orocline in the Variscan orogeny close to the Carboniferous–Permian boundary.
South-east Asia is made of Gondwanan and Cathaysian continental fragments that were assembled during the Mid-Palaeozoic and Cenozoic. This process can be divided into three phases of rifting along Gondwana's northern margin: firstly, in the Devonian, North and South China, together with Tarim and Quidam (north-western China) rifted, opening the Palaeo-Tethys behind them. These terranes accreted to Asia during Late Devonian and Permian. Secondly, in the Late Carboniferous to Early Permian, Cimmerian terranes opened Meso-Tethys Ocean; Sibumasu and Qiantang were added to south-east Asia during Late Permian and Early Jurassic. Thirdly, in the Late Triassic to Late Jurassic, Lhasa, West Burma, Woyla terranes opened the Neo-Tethys Ocean; Lhasa collided with Asia during the Early Cretaceous, and West Burma and Woyla during the Late Cretaceous.
Gondwana's long, northern margin had remained a mostly passive margin throughout the Palaeozoic. The Early Permian opening of the Neo-Tethys Ocean along this margin produced a long series of terranes, many of which were and still are being deformed in the Himalaya Orogeny. From Turkey to north-eastern India: the Taurides in southern Turkey; the Lesser Caucasus Terrane in Georgia; the Sanand, Alborz, and Lut terranes in Iran; the Mangysglak or Kopetdag Terrane in the Caspian Sea; the Afghan Terrane; the Karakorum Terrane in northern Pakistan; and the Lhasa and Qiangtang terranes in Tibet. The Permian–Triassic widening of the Neo-Tethys pushed all these terranes across the Equator and over to Eurasia.
During the Neoproterozoic to Palaeozoic phase of the Terra Australis Orogen a series of terranes were rafted from the proto-Andean margin when the Iapteus Ocean opened, to be added back to Gondwana during the closure of that ocean. During the paleozoic some blocks which helped to form parts of the Southern Cone of South America, include a piece transferred from Laurentia when the west edge of Gondwana scraped against southeast Laurentia in the Ordovician. This is the Cuyania or Precordillera terrane of the Famatinian orogeny in northwest Argentina which may have continued the line of the Appalachians southwards. Chilenia terrane accreted later against Cuyania. The collision of the Patagonian terrane with the southwestern Gondwanan occurred in the late Paleozoic. Subduction-related igneous rocks from beneath the North Patagonian Massif have been dated at 320–330 million years old, indicating that the subduction process initiated in the early Carboniferous. This was relatively short lived (lasting about 20 million years), and initial contact of the two landmasses occurred in the mid-Carboniferous, with broader collision during the early Permian. In the Devonian an island arc named Chaitenia accreted to Patagonia in what is now south-central Chile.
In the western end of Pangaea, the collision between Gondwana and Laurasia closed the Rheic and Palaeo-Tethys oceans. The obliquity of this closure resulted in the docking of some northern terranes in the Marathon, Ouachita, Alleghanian, and Variscan orogenies, respectively. Southern terranes, such as Chortis and Oaxaca, on the other hand, remained largely unaffected by the collision along the southern shores of Laurentia. Some Peri-Gondwanan terranes, such as Yucatán and Florida, were buffered from collisions by major promontories. Other terranes, such as Carolina and Meguma, were directly involved in the collision. The final collision resulted in the Variscan-Appalachian Mountains, stretching from present-day Mexico to southern Europe. Meanwhile, Baltica collided with Siberia and Kazakhstania which resulted in the Uralian orogeny and Laurasia. Pangaea was finally amalgamated in the Late Carboniferous-Early Permian, but the oblique forces continued until Pangaea began to rift in the Triassic.
In the eastern end collisions occurred slightly later. The North China, South China, and Indochina blocks rifted from Gondwana during the middle Paleozoic and opened the Proto-Tethys Ocean. North China docked with Mongolia and Siberia during the Carboniferous–Permian, followed by South China. The Cimmerian blocks then rifted from Gondwana to form the Palaeo-Thethys and Neo-Tethys oceans in the Late Carboniferous, and docked with Asia during the Triassic and Jurassic. Western Pangaea began to rift while the eastern end was still being assembled.
The formation of Pangaea and its mountains had a tremendous impact on global climate and sea levels, which resulted in glaciations and continent-wide sedimentation. In North America, the base of the Absaroka sequence coincides with the Alleghanian and Ouachita orogenies and are indicative of a large-scale change in the mode of deposition far away from the Pangaean orogenies. Ultimately, these changes contributed to the Permian–Triassic extinction event and left large deposits of hydrocarbons, coal, evaporite, and metals.
The break-up of Pangaea began with the Central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP) between South America, Africa, North America, and Europe. CAMP covered more than seven million square kilometres over a few million years, reached its peak at c. , and coincided with the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. The reformed Gondwanan continent was not precisely the same as that which had existed before Pangaea formed; for example, most of Florida and southern Georgia and Alabama is underlain by rocks that were originally part of Gondwana, but this region stayed attached to North America when the Central Atlantic opened.
Antarctica, the centre of the supercontinent, shared boundaries with all other Gondwana continents and the fragmentation of Gondwana propagated clockwise around it. The break-up was the result of one of the Earth's most extensive large igneous provinces c. , but the oldest magnetic anomalies between South America, Africa, and Antarctica are found in what is now the southern Weddell Sea where initial break-up occurred during the Jurassic c. .
The first ocean floor formed between Madagascar and Africa c. 150 Ma (left) and between India and Madagscar c. 70 Ma (right).
Gondwana began to break up in the early Jurassic following the extensive and fast emplacement of the Karoo-Ferrar flood basalts c. . Before the Karoo plume initiated rifting between Africa and Antarctica, it separated a series of smaller continental blocks from Gondwana's southern, Proto-Pacific margin (along what is now the Transantarctic Mountains): the Antarctic Peninsula, Marie Byrd Land, Zealandia, and Thurston Island; the Falkland Islands and Ellsworth–Whitmore Mountains (in Antarctica) were rotated 90° in opposite directions; and South America south of the Gastre Fault (often referred to as Patagonia) was pushed westward. The history of the Africa-Antarctica break-up can be studied in great detail in the fracture zones and magnetic anomalies flanking the Southwest Indian Ridge.
The Madagascar block and the Mascarene Plateau, stretching from the Seychelles to Réunion, were broken off India; elements of this breakup nearly coincide with the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. The India–Madagascar–Seychelles separations appear to coincide with the eruption of the Deccan basalts, whose eruption site may survive as the Réunion hotspot. The Seychelles and the Maldives are now separated by the Central Indian Ridge.
During the initial break-up in the Early Jurassic a marine transgression swept over the Horn of Africa covering Triassic planation surfaces with sandstone, limestone, shale, marls and evaporites.
The first ocean floor formed between India and Antarctica c. 120 Ma (left). The Kerguelen LIP began to form the Ninety East ridge c. 80 Ma (centre). The Indian and Australian plates merged c. 40 Ma (right).
East Gondwana, comprising Antarctica, Madagascar, India, and Australia, began to separate from Africa. East Gondwana then began to break up c.  The Indian Plate and the Australian Plate are now separated by the Capricorn Plate and its diffuse boundaries. During the opening of the Indian Ocean, the Kerguelen hotspot first formed the Kerguelen Plateau on the Antarctic Plate c. and then the Ninety East Ridge on the Indian Plate at c. . The Kerguelen Plateau and the Broken Ridge, the southern end of the Ninety East Ridge, are now separated by the Southeast Indian Ridge.when India moved northwest from Australia-Antarctica.
Separation between Australia and East Antarctica began c. with sea-floor spreading occurring c. . A shallow seaway developed over the South Tasman Rise during the Early Cenozoic and as oceanic crust started to separate the continents during the Eocene c. global ocean temperature dropped significantly. A dramatic shift from arc- to rift magmatism c. separated Zealandia, including New Zealand, the Campbell Plateau, Chatham Rise, Lord Howe Rise, Norfolk Ridge, and New Caledonia, from West Antarctica c. .
At c. 126 Ma (left) the Falkland Plateau began to slide past southern Africa and the Paraná-Etendeka LIP had opened the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. At c. 83 Ma (right) the South Atlantic was fully opened and the Romanche Fracture Zone was forming near the Equator.
The opening of the South Atlantic Ocean divided West Gondwana (South America and Africa), but there is a considerable debate over the exact timing of this break-up. Rifting propagated from south to north along Triassic–Early Jurassic lineaments, but intra-continental rifts also began to develop within both continents in Jurassic–Cretaceous sedimentary basins; subdividing each continent into three sub-plates. Rifting began c. at Falkland latitudes, forcing Patagonia to move relative to the still static remainder of South America and Africa, and this westward movement lasted until the Early Cretaceous . From there rifting propagated northward during the Late Jurassic c. or Early Cretaceous c. most likely forcing dextral movements between sub-plates on either side. South of the Walvis Ridge and Rio Grande Rise the Paraná and Etendeka magmatics resulted in further ocean-floor spreading c. and the development of rifts systems on both continents, including the Central African Rift System and the Central African Shear Zone which lasted until c. . At Brazilian latitudes spreading is more difficult to assess because of the lack of palaeo-magnetic data, but rifting occurred in Nigeria at the Benue Trough c. . North of the Equator the rifting began after and continued until c. .
The first phases of Andean orogeny in the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous were characterized by extensional tectonics, rifting, the development of back-arc basins and the emplacement of large batholiths. This development is presumed to have been linked to the subduction of cold oceanic lithosphere. During the mid to Late Cretaceous (ca. 90 million years ago) the Andean orogeny changed significantly in character. Warmer and younger oceanic lithosphere is believed to have started to be subducted beneath South America around this time. Such kind of subduction is held responsible not only for the intense contractional deformation that different lithologies were subject to, but also the uplift and erosion known to have occurred from the Late Cretaceous onward. Plate tectonic reorganization since the mid-Cretaceous might also have been linked to the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean. Another change related to mid-Cretaceous plate tectonic changes was the change of subduction direction of the oceanic lithosphere that went from having south-east motion to having a north-east motion at about 90 million years ago. While subduction direction changed it remained oblique (and not perpendicular) to the coast of South America, and the direction change affected several subduction zone-parallel faults including Atacama, Domeyko and Liquiñe-Ofqui.
The Indian subcontinent began to collide with Asia c. since when more than 1,400 km (870 mi) of crust has been absorbed by the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen. During the Cenozoic the orogen resulted in the construction of the Tibetan Plateau between the Tethyan Himalayas in the south and the Kunlun and Qilian mountains in the north.
Later, South America was connected to North America via the Isthmus of Panama, cutting off a circulation of warm water and thereby making the Arctic colder, as well as allowing the Great American Interchange.
The breakup of Gondwana can be said to continue in eastern Africa at the Afar Triple Junction, which separates the Arabian, Nubian, and Somali plates, resulting in rifting in the Red Sea and East African Rift.
In the Early Cenozoic Australia was still connected to Antarctica c. 35–40° south of its current location and both continents were largely unglaciated. A rift between the two developed but remained an embayment until the Eocene-Oligocene boundary when the Circumpolar Current developed and the glaciation of Antarctica began.
Australia was warm and wet during the Palaeocene and dominated by rainforest. The opening of the Tasman Gateway at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary () resulted in abrupt cooling but the Oligocene became a period of high rainfall with swamps in southeast Australia. During the Miocene a warm and humid climate developed with pockets of rainforests in central Australia but before the end of the period colder and drier climate severely reduced this rainforest. A brief period of increased rainfall in the Pliocene was followed by drier climate which favoured grassland. Since then the fluctuation between wet interglacial periods and dry glacial periods has developed into the present arid regime. Australia has thus experienced various climate changes over a 15 million year period with a gradual decrease in precipitation.
The Tasman Gateway between Australia and Antarctica began to open c. Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) was established in the Late Oligocene c. with the full opening of the Drake Passage and the deepening of the Tasman Gateway. The oldest oceanic crust in the Drake Passage, however, is -old which indicates spreading between the Antarctic and South American plates began near the Eocene/Oligocene boundary. Deep sea environments in Tierra del Fuego and the North Scotia Ridge during the Eocene and Oligocene indicate a "Proto-ACC" opened during this period. Later, , a series of events severally restricted the Proto-ACC: change to shallow marine conditions along the North Scotia Ridge; closure of the Fuegan Seaway, the deep sea that existed in Tierra del Fuego; and uplift of the Patagonian Cordillera. This, together with the reactivated Iceland plume, contributed to global warming. During the Miocene, the Drake Passage began to widen and as water flow between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula increased, the renewed ACC resulted in cooler global climate.. Palaeontological evidences indicate the
Since the Eocene the northward movement of the Australian Plate has resulted in an arc-continent collision with the Philippine and Caroline plates and the uplift of the New Guinea Highlands. From the Oligocene to the late Miocene, the climate in Australia, dominated by warm and humid rainforests before this collision, began to alternate between open forest and rainforest before the continent became the arid or semiarid landscape it is today.
The adjective "Gondwanan" is in common use in biogeography when referring to patterns of distribution of living organisms, typically when the organisms are restricted to two or more of the now-discontinuous regions that were once part of Gondwana, including the Antarctic flora. For example, the plant family Proteaceae, known from all continents in the Southern Hemisphere, has a "Gondwanan distribution" and is often described as an archaic, or relict, lineage. The distributions in Proteaceae is, nevertheless, the result of both Gondwanan rafting and later oceanic dispersal.
During the Silurian Gondwana extended from the Equator (Australia) to the South Pole (North Africa and South America) whilst Laurasia was located on the Equator opposite to Australia. A short-lived Late Ordovician glaciation was followed by a Silurian Hot House period. The End-Ordovician extinction, which resulted in 27% of marine invertebrate families and 57% of genera going extinct, occurred during this shift from Ice House to Hot House.
By the end of the Ordovician Cooksonia, a slender, ground-covering plant, became the first vascular plant to establish itself on land. This first colonisation occurred exclusively around the Equator on landmasses then limited to Laurasia and, in Gondwana, to Australia. In the Late Silurian two distinctive linages, zosterophylls and rhyniophytes, had colonised the tropics. The former evolved into the lycopods, that were to dominate the Gondwanan vegetation over a long period, whilst the latter evolved into horsetails and gymnosperms. Most of Gondwana was located far from the Equator during this period and remained a lifeless and barren landscape.
West Gondwana drifted north during the Devonian which brought Gondwana and Laurasia close together. Global cooling contributed to the Late Devonian extinction (19% of marine families and 50% of genera went extinct) and glaciation occurred in South America. Before Pangaea had formed terrestrial plants, such as pteridophytes, began to diversify rapidly resulting in the colonisation of Gondwana. The Baragwanathia Flora, found only in the Yea Beds of Victoria, Australia, occurs in two strata separated by 1,700 m (5,600 ft) or 30 Ma; the upper assemblage is more diverse and includes Baragwanathia, the first primitive herbaceous lycopod to evolve from the zosterophylls. During the Devonian giant club mosses replaced the Baragwanathia Flora, introducing the first trees, and by the Late Devonian this first forest was accompanied by the progymnosperms, including the first large trees Archaeopteris. The Late Devonian extinction probably also resulted in osteolepiform fishes evolving into the amphibian tetrapods, the earliest land vertebrates, in Greenland and Russia. The only traces of this evolution in Gondwana are amphibian footprints and a single jaw from Australia.
The closure of the Rheic Ocean and the formation of Pangaea in the Carboniferous resulted in the rerouting of ocean currents which initiated an Ice House period. As Gondwana began to rotate clockwise, Australia shifted south to more temperate latitudes. An ice cap initially covered most of southern Africa and South America but began to spread to eventually cover most of the supercontinent, save for northern-most Africa-South America and eastern Australia. Giant lycopod and horsetail forests continued to evolve in tropical Laurasia together with a diversified assemblage of true insects. In Gondwana, in contrast, ice and, in Australia, volcanism decimated the Devonian flora to a low-diversity seed fern flora – the pteridophytes were increasingly replaced by the gymnosperms which were to dominate until the Mid-Cretaceous. Australia, however, was still located near the Equator during the Early Carboniferous and during this period temnospondyl and lepospondyl amphibians and the first amniote reptilians evolved, all closely related to the Laurasian fauna, but spreading ice eventually drove these animals away from Gondwana entirely.
The Gondwana ice sheet melted and sea levels dropped during the Permian and Triassic global warming. During this period, the extinct glossopterids colonised Gondwana and reached peak diversity in the Late Permian when coal-forming forests covered much of Gondwana. The period also saw the evolution of Voltziales; one of the few plant orders to survive the end-Permian extinction (57% of marine families and 83% of genera went extinct) which came to dominate in the Late Permian and from whom true conifers evolved. Tall lycopods and horsetails dominated the wetlands of Gondwana in the Early Permian. Insects co-evolved with glossopterids across Gondwana and diversified with more than 200 species in 21 orders by the Late Permian, many known from South Africa and Australia. Beetles and cockroaches remained minor elements in this fauna. Tetrapod fossils from the Early Permian have only been found in Laurasia but they became common in Gondwana later during the Permian. The arrival of the therapsids resulted in the first plant-vertebrate-insect ecosystem.
During the Mid- to Late Triassic, hot house conditions coincided with a peak in biodiversity — the end-Permian extinction was enormous and so was the radiation that followed. Two families of conifers, Podocarpaceae and Araucariaceae, dominated Gondwana in the Early Triassic, but Dicroidium, an extinct genus of fork-leaved seed ferns, dominated woodlands and forests of Gondwana during most of the Triassic. Conifers evolved and radiated during the period, with six of eight extant families already present before the end of it. Bennettitales and Pentoxylales, two now extinct orders of gymnospermous plants, evolved in the Late Triassic and became important in the Jurassic and Cretaceous. It is possible that gymnosperm biodiversity surpassed later angiosperm biodiversity and that the evolution of angiosperms began during the Triassic but, if so, in Laurasia rather than in Gondwana. Two Gondwanan classes, lycophytes and sphenophytes, saw a gradual decline during the Triassic while ferns, though never dominant, managed to diversify.
The brief period of ice house conditions during the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event had a dramatic impact on dinosaurs but left plants largely unaffected. The Jurassic was mostly one of hot house conditions and, while vertebrates managed to diversify in this environment, plants have left little evidence of such development, with the exception of Cheiroleidiacean conifers and Caytoniales and other groups of seed ferns. In terms of biomass, the Jurassic flora was dominated by conifer families and other gymnosperms that had evolved during the Triassic. The Pteridophytes, that had dominated during the Palaeozoic, were now marginalised, except for ferns. In contrast to Laurentia, very few insect fossils have been found in Gondwana, to a large extent because of widespread deserts and volcanism. While plants had a cosmopolitan distribution, dinosaurs evolved and diversified in a pattern that reflects the Jurassic break-up of Panagaea.
The Cretaceous saw the arrival of the angiosperms, or flowering plants, a group that probably evolved in western Gondwana (South America-Africa). From there the angiosperms diversified in two stages: the monocots and magnoliids evolved in the Early Cretaceous, followed by the hammamelid dicots. By the Mid-Cretaceous, angiosperms constituted half of the flora in northeastern Australia. There is, however, no obvious connection between this spectacular angiosperm radiation and any known extinction event nor with vertebrate/insect evolution. Insect orders associated with pollination, such as beetles, flies, butterflies and moths, and wasps, bees, and ants, radiated continuously from the Permian-Triassic, long before the arrival of the angiosperms. Well-preserved insect fossils have been found in the lake deposits of the Santana Formation in Brazil, the Koonwarra Lake fauna in Australia, and the Orapa diamond mine in Botswana.
Dinosaurs continued to prosper but, as the angiosperm diversified, conifers, bennettitaleans and pentoxylaleans disappeared from Gondwana c. 115 Ma together with the specialised herbivorous ornithischians, whilst generalist browsers, such as several families of sauropodomorph Saurischia, prevailed. The Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event killed off all dinosaurs except birds, but plant evolution in Gondwana was hardly affected. Gondwanatheria is an extinct group of non-therian mammals with a Gondwanan distribution (South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, and Antarctica) during the Late Cretaceous and Palaeogene. Xenarthra and Afrotheria, two placental clades, are of Gondwanan origin and probably began to evolve separately c. when Africa and South America separated.
The laurel forests of Australia, New Caledonia, and New Zealand have a number of species related to those of the laurissilva of Valdivia, through the connection of the Antarctic flora. These include gymnosperms and the deciduous species of Nothofagus, as well as the New Zealand laurel, Corynocarpus laevigatus, and Laurelia novae-zelandiae. New Caledonia and New Zealand became separated from Australia by continental drift 85 million years ago. The islands still retain plants that originated in Gondwana and spread to the Southern Hemisphere continents later. However, strong evidence exists of glaciation during the Carboniferous to Permian time, especially in South Africa.
Avalonia was a microcontinent in the Paleozoic era. Crustal fragments of this former microcontinent underlie south-west Great Britain, southern Ireland, and the eastern coast of North America. It is the source of many of the older rocks of Western Europe, Atlantic Canada, and parts of the coastal United States. Avalonia is named for the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland.
Avalonia developed as a volcanic arc on the northern margin of Gondwana. It eventually rifted off, becoming a drifting microcontinent. The Rheic Ocean formed behind it, and the Iapetus Ocean shrank in front. It collided with the continents Baltica, then Laurentia, and finally with Gondwana, ending up in the interior of Pangea. When Pangea broke up, Avalonia's remains were divided by the rift which became the Atlantic Ocean.Geology of Antarctica
The geology of Antarctica covers the geological development of the continent through the Proterozoic Eon, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.
More than 170 million years ago, Antarctica was part of the supercontinent Gondwana. Over time Gondwana broke apart and Antarctica as we know it today was formed around 35 million years ago.Geology of India
The geology of India is diverse. Different regions of India contain rocks belonging to different geologic periods, dating as far back as the Eoarchean Era. Some of the rocks are very deformed and altered. Other deposits include recently deposited alluvium that has yet to undergo diagenesis. Mineral deposits of great variety are found in the Indian subcontinent in huge quantity. Even India's fossil record is impressive in which stromatolites, invertebrates, vertebrates and plant fossils are included.
India's geographical land area can be classified into the Deccan Traps, Gondwana and Vindhyan.
The Deccan Traps covers almost all of Maharashtra, a part of Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh marginally. During its journey northward after breaking off from the rest of Gondwana, the Indian Plate passed over a geologic hotspot, the Réunion hotspot, which caused extensive melting underneath the Indian Craton. The melting broke through the surface of the craton in a massive flood basalt event, creating the Deccan Traps. It is also thought that the Reunion hotspot caused the separation of Madagascar and India.
The Gondwana and Vindhyan include within its fold parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. The Gondwana sediments form a unique sequence of fluviatile rocks deposited in Permo-Carboniferous time. The Damodar and Sone river valleys and Rajmahal hills in eastern India contain a record of the Gondwana rocks.
The Geological Survey of India has published the List of National Geological Monuments in India.Gondwana Rainforests
The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, formerly known as the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves, are the most extensive area of subtropical rainforest in the world. Collectively, the rainforests are a World Heritage Site with fifty separate reserves totalling 366,500 hectares (906,000 acres) from Newcastle to Brisbane.The Gondwana Rainforests are so-named because the fossil record indicates that when Gondwana existed it was covered by rainforests containing the same kinds of species that are living today. Not all Gondwanan rainforests in Australia are located in the New South Wales – Queensland region; the largest Gondwanan rainforest in Australia is located in Tasmania's Tarkine wilderness. The number of visitors to the Gondwana rainforest reserves in New South Wales and Queensland is about 2 million per year.The World Heritage status of the region was created and negotiated initially in 1986, with the area extended in 1994, and carries the following inscription:
The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia is a serial property comprising the major remaining areas of rainforest in southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales. It represents outstanding examples of major stages of the Earth’s evolutionary history, ongoing geological and biological processes, and exceptional biological diversity. A wide range of plant and animal lineages and communities with ancient origins in Gondwana, many of which are restricted largely or entirely to the Gondwana Rainforests, survive in this collection of reserves. The Gondwana Rainforests also provides the principal habitat for many threatened species of plants and animals.
The site was gazetted on the Australian National Heritage List on 21 May 2007 under the Environment and Heritage Legislation Amendment Act (No. 1), 2003 (Cth); and the New South Wales portion was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.HMIS Gondwana (K348)
HMIS Gondwana was a World War II Flower-class corvette of the Royal Indian Navy (RIN). She was originally ordered for and commissioned as HMS Burnet of the Royal Navy, but transferred to RIN immediately upon commissioning.She was transferred back to the Royal Navy in 1946 and subsequently sold to the Royal Thai Navy in 1947, and commissioned as HTMS Bangpakong.Indian Plate
The Indian Plate or India Plate is a major tectonic plate straddling the equator in the eastern hemisphere. Originally a part of the ancient continent of Gondwana, India broke away from the other fragments of Gondwana 100 million years ago and began moving north. Once fused with the adjacent Australia to form a single Indo-Australian Plate, recent studies suggest that India and Australia have been separate plates for at least 3 million years and likely longer. The Indian plate includes most of South Asia—i.e. the Indian subcontinent—and a portion of the basin under the Indian Ocean, including parts of South China and western Indonesia, and extending up to but not including Ladakh, Kohistan and Balochistan.Laurasia
Laurasia () was the more northern of two supercontinents (the other being Gondwana) that formed part of the Pangaea supercontinent around 335 to 175 million years ago (Mya). It separated from Gondwana 215 to 175 Mya (beginning in the late Triassic period) during the breakup of Pangaea, drifting farther north after the split.
The name combines the names of Laurentia, the name given to the North American craton, and Eurasia. As suggested by the geologic naming, Laurasia included most of the land masses which make up today's continents of the Northern Hemisphere, chiefly Laurentia, Baltica, Siberia, Kazakhstania, and the North China and East China cratons.MV Gondwana
The MV Gondwana was a ship acquired by Greenpeace in 1988, originally built in 1975 and called the Viking. Greenpeace updated the ship with a helipad and accommodation space was increased to sleep 33 people. The ship was used to supply the Greenpeace World Park Base in 1988/89 and was involved in direct action to protest against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean in the late 1980s.Madagascar Plate
The Madagascar Plate or Madagascar block was once attached to the Gondwana supercontinent and later the Indo-Australian Plate.
Rifting in the Somali Basin began at the end of the Carboniferous 300 million years ago, as a part of the Karoo rift system. The initiation of Gondwana breakup, and transform faulting along the Davie Fracture Zone, occurred in the Toarcian (about 182 million years ago) following the eruption of the Bouvet (Karoo) mantle plume. At this time East Gondwana, comprising the Antarctic, Madagascar, Indian, and Australian plates, began to separate from the African Plate. East Gondwana then began to break apart about 115–120 million years ago when India began to move northward. Between 84–95 million years ago rifting separated Seychelles and India from Madagascar.
Since its formation the Madagascar block has moved roughly in conjunction with Africa, and thus there are questions as to whether the Madagascar Plate should be still considered a separate plate.Main Range National Park
The Main Range is a mountain range and national park in Queensland, Australia, located predominantly in Tregony, Southern Downs Region, 85 kilometres (53 mi) southwest of Brisbane. It is part of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (formerly known as the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves). It protects the western part of a semicircle of mountains in South East Queensland known as the Scenic Rim. This includes the largest area of rainforest in South East Queensland. The park is part of the Scenic Rim Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance in the conservation of several species of threatened birds.Mount Royal National Park
The Mount Royal National Park is a protected national park located in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia. Gazetted in 1997, the 6,920-hectare (17,100-acre) park is situated approximately 187 kilometres (116 mi) north of Sydney.
The park is part of the Barrington Tops group World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986 and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007.Mount Royal Range
The Mount Royal Range is a mountain range in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia.New England National Park
The New England National Park is a protected national park located on the Northern Tablelands in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia. The 67,303-hectare (166,310-acre) park was created in May 1935 and is situated approximately 560 kilometres (350 mi) north of Sydney, and 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south of Waterfall Way, just 85 kilometres (53 mi) east of Armidale and 65 kilometres (40 mi) west of Coffs Harbour. The closest village to New England National Park is Ebor, located 20 kilometres (12 mi) away.
The park is part of the New England Group World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986 and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007.More than 1,000 plant species are found within the park, attracting prolific birdlife.Pangaea
Pangaea or Pangea ( ) was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. It assembled from earlier continental units approximately 335 million years ago, and it began to break apart about 175 million years ago. In contrast to the present Earth and its distribution of continental mass, much of Pangaea was in the southern hemisphere and surrounded by a superocean, Panthalassa. Pangaea was the most recent supercontinent to have existed and the first to be reconstructed by geologists.Pannotia
Pannotia (from Greek: pan-, "all", -nótos, "south"; meaning "all southern land"), also known as Vendian supercontinent, Greater Gondwana, and the Pan-African supercontinent, was a relatively short-lived Neoproterozoic supercontinent that formed at the end of the Precambrian during the Pan-African orogeny (650–500 Ma) and broke apart 560 Ma with the opening of the Iapetus Ocean.
Pannotia formed when Laurentia was located adjacent to the two major South American cratons, Amazonia and Río de la Plata. The opening of the Iapetus Ocean separated Laurentia from Baltica, Amazonia, and Río de la Plata.Springbrook National Park
The Springbrook National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Gold Coast hinterland of Queensland, Australia. The 6,197-hectare (15,310-acre) park is situated on the McPherson Range, near Springbrook, approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) south of Brisbane. The park is part of the Shield Volcano Group of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.
In December 1994, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee officially extended the area now known as the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area over the Scenic Rim (including Main Range, Mount Barney, Lamington and Springbrook National Parks and Goomburra Forest Reserve) and the rainforests of northern New South Wales. In 2007 the areas of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia were added to the Australian National Heritage List. The park is part of the Scenic Rim Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance in the conservation of several species of threatened birds.In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, the Springbrook National Park was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as a "Natural attraction".Terra Australis Orogen
The Terra Australis Orogen (TAO) was the oceanic southern margin of Gondwana which stretched from South America to Eastern Australia and encompassed South Africa, West Antarctica, New Zealand and Victoria Land in East Antarctica.Tethys Ocean
The Tethys Ocean (Greek: Τηθύς Tēthús), also called the Tethys Sea or the Neotethys, was an ocean during much of the Mesozoic Era located between the ancient continents of Gondwana and Laurasia, before the opening of the Indian and Atlantic oceans during the Cretaceous Period.Washpool National Park
The Washpool National Park is a protected national park located in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia. The 58,678-hectare (145,000-acre) park is situated approximately 520 kilometres (320 mi) north of Sydney, inland from Grafton. The park has two campgrounds and is managed by the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. It was established in 1983 to preserve the significant plant and animal populations found in the Washpool and Gibraltar Range forests.The Park is part of the Washpool and Gibraltar Range area of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986 and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007.