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Encyclopedia > Tethys Ocean
Tethys Ocean (here labeled 'Tethys Sea') divides Pangea into two supercontinents, Laurasia and Gondwana
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Tethys Ocean (here labeled 'Tethys Sea') divides Pangea into two supercontinents, Laurasia and Gondwana

The Tethys Ocean was a Mesozoic era ocean that existed between the continents of Gondwana and Laurasia before the opening of the Indian Ocean. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (728x625, 116 KB) This image is a work of a United States Geological Survey employee, taken or made during the course of the persons official duties. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (728x625, 116 KB) This image is a work of a United States Geological Survey employee, taken or made during the course of the persons official duties. ... Map of Pangæa Pangaea (Greek for all lands) is the name Alfred Wegener used to refer to the supercontinent that existed during the Mesozoic era, before the process of plate tectonics separated the component continents. ... Laurasia was a supercontinent that most recently existed as a part of the split of the Pangaean supercontinent in the late Mesozoic era. ... Pangaea was formed by the merging of two continents, Laurasia and Gondwana East African and Kuungan Orogens 550 Ma reconstruction showing final stages of assembly The southern supercontinent Gondwana (originally Gondwanaland) included most of the landmasses which make up todays continents of the southern hemisphere, including Antarctica, South America... The Mesozoic is one of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon. ... Pangaea was formed by the merging of two continents, Laurasia and Gondwana East African and Kuungan Orogens 550 Ma reconstruction showing final stages of assembly The southern supercontinent Gondwana (originally Gondwanaland) included most of the landmasses which make up todays continents of the southern hemisphere, including Antarctica, South America... Laurasia was a supercontinent that most recently existed as a part of the split of the Pangaean supercontinent in the late Mesozoic era. ...

Contents

Historical theory

In 1893, using fossil records from the Alps and Africa, Eduard Suess proposed the theory that a shallow inland sea had once existed between Laurasia and Gondwana. He named it the 'Tethys Sea' after the Greek sea goddess Tethys. The theory of plate tectonics later disproved or overrode many parts of Suess's theory, even determining the existence of an earlier body of water called the Tethys Ocean. However, Suess's overall concept was still relatively accurate and remarkably imaginative for its day, so he generally is credited with the discovery of both the Tethys Sea and the Tethys Ocean. The West face of the Petit Dru above the Chamonix valley near the Mer de Glace. ... For other uses, see Africa (disambiguation). ... Eduard Suess (August 20, 1831 – April 26, 1914) was a 19th century geologist who was an expert on the geography of the Alps. ... An inland sea is a shallow sea that covers central areas of continents during high stands of sea level that result in marine transgressions. ... Laurasia was a supercontinent that most recently existed as a part of the split of the Pangaean supercontinent in the late Mesozoic era. ... Pangaea was formed by the merging of two continents, Laurasia and Gondwana East African and Kuungan Orogens 550 Ma reconstruction showing final stages of assembly The southern supercontinent Gondwana (originally Gondwanaland) included most of the landmasses which make up todays continents of the southern hemisphere, including Antarctica, South America... In Greek mythology, Tethys was a Titaness and sea goddess who was both sister and wife of Oceanus. ... Bridge across the Álfagjá rift valley in southwest Iceland, the boundary of the Eurasian and North American continental tectonic plates. ...


Modern theory

About 250 million years ago, during the late Permian Era, a new ocean began forming in the southern end of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean. A rift formed along the northern continental shelf of Southern Pangaea (Gondwana). Over the next 60 million years, that piece of shelf, known as Cimmeria, traveled north, pushing the floor of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean under the eastern end of Northern Pangaea (Laurasia). The Tethys Ocean formed between Cimmeria and Gondwana, directly over where the Paleo-Tethys used to be. The Permian is a geologic period that extends from about 299. ... The Paleo-Tethys Ocean was an ancient Paleozoic ocean. ... Map of Pangaea Pangaea or Pangea (derived from Παγγαία, Greek meaning all earth) is the name given to the supercontinent that is believed to have existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras, before the process of plate tectonics separated each of the component continents into their current configuration. ... Pangaea was formed by the merging of two continents, Laurasia and Gondwana East African and Kuungan Orogens 550 Ma reconstruction showing final stages of assembly The southern supercontinent Gondwana (originally Gondwanaland) included most of the landmasses which make up todays continents of the southern hemisphere, including Antarctica, South America... The Cimmerian plate is an ancient tectonic plate that comprises parts of present-day Iran, Afghanistan, and Tibet. ... Laurasia was a supercontinent that most recently existed as a part of the split of the Pangaean supercontinent in the late Mesozoic era. ...


During the Jurassic Period (150 mya), Cimmeria finally collided with Laurasia. There it stalled, the ocean floor behind it buckling under, forming the Tethyan Trench. Water levels rose and the western Tethys came to shallowly cover significant portions of Europe. Around the same time, Laurasia and Gondwana began drifting apart, leaving the Atlantic Ocean between them. Between the Jurassic and the Cretaceous (100 mya), even Gondwana began breaking up, pushing Africa and India north, across the Tethys. As these land masses pushed in on it from all sides, up until as recently as the Late Miocene (15 mya), the Tethys ocean continued to shrink, becoming the Tethys Seaway or 'Tethys Sea'. The Jurassic Period is a major unit of the geologic timescale that extends from about 200 Ma (million years ago), at the end of the Triassic to 146 Ma, at the beginning of the Cretaceous. ... In astronomy, geology, and paleontology, mya is an acronym for million years ago and is used as a unit of time to denote length of time before the present. ... The Juan de Fuca plate sinks below the North America plate at the Cascadia subduction zone. ... The Cretaceous Period is one of the major divisions of the geologic timescale, reaching from the end of the Jurassic Period (i. ... For other uses, see Africa (disambiguation). ... The Miocene epoch is a period of time that extends from about 23 to 5. ...


Today, India, Indonesia and the Indian Ocean cover the area once occupied by the Tethys Ocean, and Turkey, Iraq, and Tibet sit on Cimmeria. What was once the Tethys Sea has become the Black, Caspian and Aral Seas. Most of the floor of the Tethys Ocean disappeared under Cimmeria and Laurasia. We only know the Tethys existed because geologists like Suess found fossils of ocean creatures in rocks in the Himalayas. So, we know those rocks were underwater, before the Indian continental shelf began pushing upward as it smashed into Cimmeria. We can see similar geologic evidence in the Alpine orogeny of Europe, where the movement of the African plate raised the Alps. This article is becoming very long. ... Map of the Black Sea. ... The Caspian Sea is the largest lake on Earth by both area and volume,[1] with a surface area of 371,000 square kilometres (143,244 mi²) and a volume of 78,200 cubic kilometres (18,761 mi³).[2] It is a landlocked endorheic body of water and lies between... Map of area around the Aral Sea. ... A geologist is a contributor to the science of geology, studying the physical structure and processes of the Earth and planets of the solar system (see planetary geology). ... An ammonite fossil Eocene fossil fish of the genus Knightia Petrified wood fossil formed through permineralization. ... Perspective view of the Himalayas and Mount Everest as seen from space looking south-south-east from over the Tibetan Plateau. ... Bridge across the Álfagjá rift valley in southwest Iceland, the boundary of the Eurasian and North American continental tectonic plates. ... The Alps arose as a result of the pressure exerted on sediments of the Tethys Ocean basin as its Mesozoic and early Cenozoic strata were pushed against the stable Eurasian landmass by the northward-moving African landmass. ... European redirects here. ...  The African plate, shown in pinkish-orange The African Plate is a tectonic plate covering the continent of Africa and extending westward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. ... The West face of the Petit Dru above the Chamonix valley near the Mer de Glace. ...


Paleontologists also find the Tethys Ocean particularly important because much of the world's sea shelves were found around its margins for such an extensive period of time. Marine, marsh-dwelling, and estuarian fossils from these shelves are of considerable paleontological interest. A paleontologist carefully chips rock from a column of dinosaur vertebrae. ... Estuaries and coastal waters are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth, providing ecological, economic, cultural, and aesthetic benefits. ...


Terminology and subdivisions

Like every science, geology is a continuously evolving system of theories, and the terms used to describe various pre-historic formations have fluctuated as more accurate theories have emerged. For example, many internet sources use "Tethys Ocean" to refer to the "Tethys Sea" and vice versa. Some even appear to erroneously refer to the growing Atlantic Ocean during the Jurassic as the Tethys Sea. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The word theory has a number of distinct meanings in different fields of knowledge, depending on their methodologies and the context of discussion. ... The Jurassic Period is a major unit of the geologic timescale that extends from about 200 Ma (million years ago), at the end of the Triassic to 146 Ma, at the beginning of the Cretaceous. ...


The western end of the Tethys Ocean is called Tethys Sea, Western Tethys Ocean or Alpine Tethys Ocean. The Black, Caspian and Aral Seas are thought to be its crustal remains. However, this "Western Tethys" was not simply a single open ocean. It covered many small plates, Cretaceous island arcs and microcontinents. Many small oceanic basins (Valais Ocean, Piemont-Liguria Ocean) were separated from each other by continental terranes on the Alboran, Iberian, and Apulian plates. the high sealevel in the Mesozoic age flooded most of these continental domains forming shallow seas. Map of the Black Sea. ... The Caspian Sea is the largest lake on Earth by both area and volume,[1] with a surface area of 371,000 square kilometres (143,244 mi²) and a volume of 78,200 cubic kilometres (18,761 mi³).[2] It is a landlocked endorheic body of water and lies between... Map of area around the Aral Sea. ... Earth cutaway from core to exosphere. ... The Cretaceous Period is one of the major divisions of the geologic timescale, reaching from the end of the Jurassic Period (i. ... An island arc is a type of archipelago formed by plate tectonics as one oceanic tectonic plate subducts under another and produces magma. ... Dymaxion map by Buckminster Fuller shows land mass with minimal distortion as only one continuous continent A continent (Latin continere, to hold together) is a large continuous land mass. ... A basin is the inverse of a dome: a symmetrically-dipping syncline that appears on a geologic map as roughly circular or elliptical, with concentric layers. ... The Valais Ocean is a disappeared piece of oceanic crust which was situated between the continent Europe and the microcontinent Iberia. ... The Piemont-Liguria basin or the Piemont-Liguria Ocean (sometimes only one of the two names is used, for example: Piemonte Ocean) was a former piece of oceanic crust that is seen as part of the Tethys Ocean. ... A terrane in paleogeography is an accretion that has collided with a continental nucleus, or craton but can be recognized by the foreign origin of its rock strata. ... The Adriatic or Apulian Plate is a small tectonic plate that broke away from the African plate along a large transform fault in the Cretaceous period. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with sea level. ... The Mesozoic is one of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon. ...


The eastern part of the Tethys Ocean is likewise sometimes referred to as Eastern Tethys.


As theories have improved, scientists have extended the "Tethys" name to refer to similar oceans that preceded it. The Paleo-Tethys Ocean, mention above, existed from the Silurian (440 mya) through the Jurassic eras, between the Hunic terranes and Gondwana (later the Cimmerian terranes). Before that, the Proto-Tethys Ocean existed from the Ediacaran (600 mya) into the Devonian (360 mya), and was situated between Baltica and Laurentia to the north and Gondwana to the south. Neither of these should be confused with the Rheic Ocean, which existed to the west of them in the Silurian era. The Paleo-Tethys Ocean was an ancient Paleozoic ocean. ... The Silurian is a major division of the geologic timescale that extends from the end of the Ordovician period, about 443. ... The Jurassic Period is a major unit of the geologic timescale that extends from about 200 Ma (million years ago), at the end of the Triassic to 146 Ma, at the beginning of the Cretaceous. ... The Cimmerian plate is an ancient tectonic plate that comprises parts of present-day Iran, Afghanistan, and Tibet. ... Proto-Tethys Ocean was an ancient ocean that existed from the latest Ediacaran to the Carboniferous. ... The Ediacaran Period is the last geological period of the Neoproterozoic Era, just before the Cambrian. ... Disambiguation: Devonian is sometimes used to refer to the Southwestern Brythonic language, and the people of the county of Devon are sometimes referred to as Devonians The Devonian is a geologic period of the Paleozoic era. ... North American craton. ... Pangaea was formed by the merging of two continents, Laurasia and Gondwana East African and Kuungan Orogens 550 Ma reconstruction showing final stages of assembly The southern supercontinent Gondwana (originally Gondwanaland) included most of the landmasses which make up todays continents of the southern hemisphere, including Antarctica, South America... The Rheic Ocean was an ocean in the Paleozoic Era that existed between the continent of Baltica (northern Europe) and number of terranes broken up from Gondwana, including the future southern Europe. ...


See also

  • Paleo-Tethys Ocean
  • Proto-Tethys Ocean

The Paleo-Tethys Ocean was an ancient Paleozoic ocean. ... Proto-Tethys Ocean was an ancient ocean that existed from the latest Ediacaran to the Carboniferous. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Encyclopedia: Tethys Ocean (1224 words)
The Tethys Ocean was an ocean that existed between the continents of Gondwana and Laurasia before the opening of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Tethys Sea was a shallow inland body of water that existed between Laurasia and Gondwana, the geological ancestor of the modern Black, Caspian and Aral Seas.
Paleontologists find the Tethys Ocean particularly important because much of the world's sea shelves were found around its margins for such an extensive period of time; Marine, marsh-dwelling, and estuarian fossils from these shelves are of considerable interest to them.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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