|Antarctica: The Frozen Continent
Location & Geography |
Geologic History |
Weather | Links | Quiz
Geologic History: Antarctica was not always the frozen, dry continent it is now. Two hundred million years ago, it was the center of a “supercontinent” called Gondwana that included parts of South America, Africa, India, and Australia.
The breakup of Gondwana about 180 million years ago started the episode of continental drift that separated Africa from South America, and formed the South Atlantic Ocean.
At the same time, the Indian subcontinent started moving north, heading for Asia and the eventual uplift of the Himalayas, while Antarctica moved southward. The similarity in the types of rocks and fossils found in these southern continents helps prove the theory of continental drift.
Rocks and fossils also confirm that Antarctica was once connected to these regions, and that it was much warmer and wetter in the distant past.
The plate reconstructions shown above were derived from data made available on the ODSN-Geomar Web site.