a hypothetical protocontinent of the remote geologic past that rifted apart to form the continents of today.
Origin of supercontinent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
a great landmass thought to have existed in the geological past and to have split into smaller landmasses, which drifted and formed the present continents
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
A large continent that, according to the theory of plate tectonics, is thought to have split into smaller continents in the geologic past. The supercontinent Pangaea is believed to have formed when earlier continental landmasses came together sometime before the Permian Period, staying together until after the Triassic Period, when it broke into the smaller supercontinents Laurasia and Gondwanaland. These supercontinents are believed to have later separated into the landmasses that correspond to the current continents. Other supercontinents are hypothesized to have formed and broken apart earlier in geologic time.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.