70 million years ago
Mean atmospheric O2
150% of modern level
Mean atmospheric CO2
6x pre-industrial level
4°C above modern level
Geologic Time Scale
Late Cretaceous India
This is how the Indian subcontinent may have appeared 70 million years
ago during the Late Cretaceous period. Looking north, immediately to India's
west is the island continent of Madagascar and further west is the eastern
coast of southern Africa.
In the distant past India and Madagascar formed a single continent, however
India was part of a separate tectonic plate that subsequently began to drift
northward. This northward motion (covering about 8 inches per year making it
among the fastest on the Earth's lithosphere) split India from Madagascar
and carried it north across the Tethys Ocean until it collided with Eurasia
about 50 to 35 million years ago. This collision between the Indian and
Eurasian plates joined India to South Asia and created the Tibetan Plateau
and the Himalaya Mountains, a process which is still evolving to this day.
© Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.
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