Did Pangea exist? I think it did!
A new study by scientists at Baylor University, UC Davis and others considers how tolerance of plants to freezing temperatures affected forest cover and hydrology during the Pennsylvanian period, roughly 340 million to 285 million years ago during the Paleozoic Era.
The study, published Oct. 19 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that plant freezing would have limited the geographical distribution of forest cover across the southern supercontinent Pangaea. This was the peak of the Earth’s last “icehouse” period before the present, when great ice sheets covered the southern hemisphere.
This period is our only analog in Earth history, when complex life existed, of a glaciated world with atmospheric carbon dioxide ranging from on par with pre-industrial levels rising to those predicted for the end of this century, said Isabel Montañez, distinguished professor of earth and planetary sciences and director of the John Muir Institute of Environment at UC Davis.