Origin and Development of the Indian Ocean

  • Ganpat Singh Roonwal


The history of science is full of bold hypotheses, many of which have proved to be true. This was so with the concept of continental drift, which holds that all the continents were once joined in a single great landmass, named Pangaea, “all land,” the name proposed by A. Wegener in the 1920’s. This universal continent was somehow broken apart and its fragments — the continents of today — eventually drifted to their present location. The notion that continents can drift thousands of kilometers in a few hundred million years is now generally accepted, based on data from geology and geophysics. The large landmass of Pangaea became the two supercontinents of Laurasia and Gondwanaland; the landmasses were juxtaposed before the opening of either the Atlantic or the Indian Ocean. Based on studies of the relative motion of the landmasses involved, Fig. 2.1 presents a reconstruction of the dismemberment of the southern supercontinent of Gondwanaland, with diagrams showing the break up and subsequent dispersion of the continents over the past 180 million years: the Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Cenozoic periods.


Indian Ocean Fracture Zone Abyssal Plain Continental Rise Kerguelen Plateau 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ganpat Singh Roonwal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia

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