Scotese, Christopher R. Department of Geology, University of Texas, Arlington, Texas.
Last reviewed:December 2019
- Late Precambrian, 650 MYA
- Early and middle Paleozoic, 545–360 MYA
- Late Paleozoic, 360–245 MYA
- Early Mesozoic, 245–144 MYA
- Late Mesozoic, 144–66 MYA
- Cenozoic Era, 66–0 MYA
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The geography of the ancient past. Paleogeographers study the changing positions of the continents and the ancient extent of land, mountains and shallow-sea and deep-ocean basins. The Earth's geography changes because its surface is in constant motion due to plate tectonics. The continents move at rates of 2–10 cm/yr (0.75–4 in./yr). Though this may seem slow, over millions of years continents can travel across the globe. As the continents move, new ocean basins form, mountains rise and erode and sea level rises and falls. The best way to illustrate these changes is through a series of paleogeographic maps. See also: Continents, evolution of; Geography; Plate tectonics
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