At the beginning of the Triassic Period, all of the major landmasses of the Earth were still joined in a single supercontinent now known as Pangaea. This landmass began to break up through the middle period of the Triassic and eventually formed distinct continents that were unconnected to each other.Continue Reading
The first two major landmasses to emerge from Pangaea were Gondwana and Laurasia. Gondwana was the great southern continent, and it contained, according to UCMP, the modern continents of Africa, South America, Antarctica and Australia. At this time, India was still attached to the Gondwanan landmass, and it had yet to begin its eastward drift into Asia. During the Triassic, the continents remained at a relatively high elevation, preventing the flooding of the continental shelves.
The other major landform at the time was the northern continent of Laurasia. This mass comprised Asia and Europe, along with what would become North America. It was during the Triassic that the Atlantic Ocean first opened and the North American landmass split from Africa. During this period, according to UCMP, the west coast of the Americas became very active, which led to the growth of massive mountain chains stretching from present-day Alaska to Chile.Learn more about Landforms