Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Mechanisms that can explain the Mesozoic motion of Pangaea in a palaeomagnetic mantle reference frame may also be able to explain its breakup. Calculations indicate that Pangaea moved along a non-rigid path in the mantle frame between the late Triassic and early Jurassic. The breakup of Pangaea may have happened as a response to this non-rigid motion. Tectonic forces applied to the margins of Pangaea as a consequence of subduction at its peripheries can explain both the motion and deformation of Pangaea with a single mechanism. In contrast, mantle forces applied to the base of Pangaea appear to be inconsistent with the kinematic constraints and do not explain the change in supercontinent motion that accompanied the breakup event. Top-down plate tectonics are inferred to have caused the breakup of Pangaea. Strong coupling between the mantle and lithosphere may not have been the case during the Phanerozoic eon when the Pangaean supercontinent formed and subsequently dispersed.

You do not currently have access to this chapter.

Figures & Tables





Citing Books via

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal