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Late Precambrian Animation (750 mya - 540 mya)


Rodinia Breakup - Pannotia Assembly

(to run animation, drag mouse across image)

This animation shows the motions of the continents during the Late Precambrian.  (Be patient, it may take a  minute or so to download the Java applet and images to your computer.)  750 million years ago the supercontinent of Rodinia broke apart.  Half of the sundered supercontinent (the half that included North America) went south and crossed the South Pole.  The other half drifted northward towards the North Pole.   Because so much land was near the poles, the Late Precambrian was an Ice House World - much of the Earth was covered by ice.    Eventually the two halves collided with the Congo continent (Central Africa) and a new supercontinent was born - Pannotia.   Pannotia began to break apart at the very end of the Precambrian.  The Paleozoic began (540 mya) with 4 new continents:   Gondwana (the core of Pannotia), Laurentia (North America),  Baltica (Northern Europe), and Siberia.

The  blue areas are deep ocean basins. The light blue areas are flooded continental shelves and oceanic plateaus. The tan areas are land, and the red areas are mountains.   Watch North America (Laurentia) head towards the South   Pole .  Also note the volcanic island chains and extensive mountain belt that was formed by Late Precambrian collisions (Pan-African orogeny).

All these animations are available on CD-ROM in Quicktime format.   For more information see Teaching Materials

This page uses a java applet that displays a VR model. Visit FreedomVR at for more information about this applet.

(c) PALEOMAP Project, 1999. Thanks to WebDoGS by Paul Howell for inspiration.