Late Proterozoic

Late Proterozoic

(900-543 million years ago)

    This map illustrates the break-up of the supercontinent, Rodinia, which formed 1100 million years ago.   The Late Precambrian was an "Ice House" World, much like the present-day. It is very unlikely that Rodinia was the first supercontinent. However, it was certainly the previous global supercontinent prior to Pangea. Thus the Earth's lithosphere goes through cycles of global supercontinent (and hence low biotic diversity) and multiple Island continents (e.g. today's world)

    Rodinia was surrounded by a single ocean, called the Iapetus Ocean or Sea. Towards the end of the Proterozoic, this supercontinent fragmented, giving rise to the late Vendian continents of Pannotia, Siberia, and North China. From Pannotia in turn came the diverse continents of Laurentia, Gondwana,, and Baltica.

    The Rodinia supercontinent formed approximately 1 billion years ago due to the subduction of ocean basins followed by a series of continental collisions. The Rodinia supercontinent, situated about the South Pole, is thought to have persisted over 250 million years. Supercontinent rifting and breakup occurred approximately 725 Ma,  producing new ocean basins (e.g. Panthalassic Ocean) and rift faults such as the Reelfoot Rift, which extends from the Gulf of Mexico to Illinios. The active New Madrid earthquake zone in Missouri occurs along the Reelfoot Rift