Abstract

Previously published reconstructions of Pangea during late Paleozoic-early Mesozoic time have suggested that (1) the Gulf of Mexico has existed as an oceanic basin from at least the late Carboniferous onward or (2) the Gulf of Mexico was created since Permian time by a process of microplate reorganization, macroplate drift, or oceanization (sensu stricto). On the basis of paleomagnetic data, we favor macroplate drift. Major geologic and tectonic features of the Pangea segments bordering the Gulf of Mexico are in agreement with a newly proposed alternative fit of North America, Europe, and Gondwanaland for late Paleozoic time. This reconstruction closes the Gulf of Mexico by juxtaposition of North and South America.

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