Was Pangaea the surface of a smaller planet?

  1. I feel curious about Earth having one supercontinent in a global ocean; it seems a little lobsided.

    Could it be that, once upon a time, Earth was much smaller, and then water was added?

    If a small planet was somehow globally deluged (No, not Noah's Ark - millions of years earlier) would the sudden new weight massively compress and lower or even sink some of the land levels, and maybe split the surface - Pangaea - into new continents? If a lot of water broke through and stayed underground while more water at sea level became more ocean, would this result in the planet swelling, and land masses seeming to seperate proportionately, like maps drawn on a swelling balloon? Did water split Pangaea? If so, where did it all come from?

    Please tell me if this is possibly a workable scenario. Thanks.

  2. jcsd
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  3. Simon Bridge

    Simon Bridge 14,649
    Science Advisor
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    What's wrong with "lopsided"?

    Work out how much the Earth would have been "lopsided" by. You'll see it's only a very tiny proportion of the overall radius.

    I think the standard approach has water being in the atmosphere and raining down later - so, "water was added" in that sense. But what's wrong with the water arriving during the accretion and early formation?

    Your time-frame is still too short. Try replacing "millions" with "billions".

    OK - the short answer is "no", it's not a workable scenario.
    I can see why you'd look for something dramatic like that if you are thinking in terms of mere million-year timescales though.
  4. D H

    Staff: Mentor



    It's not.

    The Earth has seen a number of supercontinents form and then break up, Pangaea being but the most recent. The supercontinent cycle is easily explained by plate tectonics.

    This forum is not the place to expound personal theories. Read our rules. Thread closed.
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