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At the beginning of the Jurassic period, southern European areas formed a single continental mass open to the east (western Tethys), and the Iberian plate lay between latitude 25°N and 35°N. It was separated from the larger European plate to the north by a narrow trough corresponding to the early rifting of the Bay of Biscay. To the NW it was separated from the Laurentia–Greenland Plate by an epicontinental sea showing a typical horst and graben structure, which would eventually become the palaeogeographical connection between the northern and central Atlantic. The opening of the Bay of Biscay took place...

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