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The Geologic Evolution of South America with Special Reference to the Last 200 Million Years

  • D. H. Tarling
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)

Abstract

Ideas concerning the existence and nature of intercontinental links at different times of the Earth’s history have undergone dramatic changes during the last 100 years or so. While Darwin’s observations (1859) led him to an understanding of the importance of geographical isolation to the geological record of evolution, he considered that vertical motions of land masses were much more critical in creating this condition than horizontal translations. This view, of course, not only reflected his own observations relating to sea-level changes but also the extant views of the nature of the Earth in which the ocean basins were still considered to be submerged land masses. Under such circumstances, the elevation of parts of the ocean floor was conceivable and would have lead to the formation of extensive land bridges linking the main continents and, conversely, the sinking of land bridges would lead to the isolation of previously united biotic communities. During the 19th century paleontologists and biogeographers recognized that changing connections of this type could account for similarities and dissimilarities in the geological record for life on all of the known continents. In particular, these studies distinguished a “northern” continent, Laurasia, and a “southern” continent, Gondwanaland, in which constituent continents were thought to be linked by a series of land bridges that were destroyed sometime since the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods (the last 200 million years of the Earth’s 4550-million-year history).

Keywords

Magnetic Anomaly Ocean Basin Antarctic Peninsula Geologic Evolution Continental Drift 
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

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. H. Tarling
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geophysics and Planetary PhysicsThe UniversityNewcastle upon TyneEngland

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