The present drainage of East Antarctica, with ice radiating from a central dome draped over the thick crust of the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains, recapitulates the Early Permian scene, including the south polar paleolatitude. The Permian radial drainage was on the same scale as the present drainage around the thick crust of the Tibetan Plateau. Another high region in Carboniferous- Permian time was the upland of Europe on crust thickened during the Variscan collision to form Pangea. The ancestral Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains and a central Australian upland may have formed because of long-distance stress from the Variscan collision acting on zones of weak crust attenuated during prolonged subsidence of intracratonic basins. The mid-Carboniferous inception of widespread glaciation was possibly linked with vast uplands in northern and southern Pangea through the effects of Variscan topography and the removal of atmospheric CO2 during accelerated erosion and weathering.