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For hundreds of millions of years, all the land of Earth was joined together in one large mass or super continent. Scientists call it Pangaea and it formed about 300 million years ago.  The word Pangaea is derived from two Ancient Greek words: pan (πᾶν) meaning “entire”, and Gaia (Γαῖα) meaning “Mother Earth”.  Then about 200 million years ago the land began to drift apart. It broke into two pieces, and scientists have called the continent in the North Laurasia and the continent in the South Gondwanaland or Gondwana.

The two large continents continued to break apart into the smaller continents that exist today. Scientists call this movement ‘continental drift‘.

Gondwana included most of the landmasses in today’s southern hemisphere, including Antarctica, South America, Africa, Madagascar, Australia-New Guinea, and New Zealand, as well as Arabia and the Indian subcontinent. Gondwana was named by Eduard Suess, an Austrian geologist. Gondwana was a hot and dry place with rainy seasons. The first tree ferns and coniferous trees appeared there.