Definitions

palaeogeography

paleogeography

[pey-lee-oh-jee-og-ruh-fee or, especially Brit., pal-ee-]
or palaeogeography

Geography of selected portions of the Earth's surface at specific times in the geologic past. The simplest kind of paleogeography is a map showing the locations of ancient lands and seas, but paleogeographic maps may also show the occurrence and distribution of fossil, plant, and animal communities; environments of sedimentation (e.g., deltas, reefs, deserts, or deep-sea basins); areas undergoing uplift and erosion or subsidence and deposition; and major climatic zones.

Learn more about paleogeography with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Palaeogeography (sometimes spelled paleogeography) is the study of what the geography was in times past. It is most often used about the physical landscape, although nothing excludes that the word also be used about the human or cultural environment. If the topic is landforms it could also be called paleogeomorphology.

In petroleum geology the term paleogeographic analysis is used for the detailed study of sedimentary basins, since the ancient geomorphological environments of the Earth's surface is preserved in the stratigraphic record. Paleogeographers also study the sedimentary environment associated with fossils to aid in the understanding of evolutionary development of extinct species. The reconstructions of prehistoric continents and oceans depends on paleogeographic evidence. Thus paleogeography provided critical evidence for the development of continental drift and current plate tectonic theories. For example, knowledge of the shape and latitudinal location of supercontinents such as Pangaea and ancient oceans such as Panthalassa result from paleogeographic studies.

See also

Search another word or see palaeogeographyon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature