Pangaea (Greek Spelling) or "Pangea" is the name given to the supercontinent believed to have broken up into the existing continents. The supercontinent theory explains the apparent "puzzle piece fittings" of the major continents today. The name Pangea came from German Alfred Wegener, a chief proponent of the continental drift theory, in 1920.
The idea of a single continent breaking up into the ones we have today was first proposed in 1859 by creationist Antonio Snider-Pellegrini, partly on the basis of the description in Genesis 1:9-10 . However, the idea was not accepted by others at the time. Even after Wegener resurrected the idea, it took another half century before it came to be widely accepted.
Young-Earth creationist view
Although some creationists have proposed that the division of the Earth in Peleg's time is a reference to the continental break up, most creationists have it occurring during the Flood of Noah's time. One of the leading scientific models of continental drift is that produced by John Baumgardner, who says that the model works best as a rapid breakup (i.e. within the year of the Flood) rather than the slow and gradual breakup of the uniformitarian view.
According to the uniformitarian time-scale, Pangea existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras about 250 million years ago, before the process of plate tectonics separated Pangaea into the continents we have today.
Some scientists theorize that Pangaea first began to break up in the Early-Middle Jurassic, when Pangaea created a rift from the Tethys Ocean from the east and the Pacific from the west. The rifting took place between North America and Africa, and produced multiple failed rifts, the Mississippi River being the largest. The rift resulted in a new ocean, which today we call the Atlantic.
The second major division of the Pangea continent occurred 150 million years ago, when the minor supercontinent of Gondwana divided up into its respective modern continents: South America, Africa and India. Also, the continent of Cimmeria collided with Eurasia, causing a subduction zone called the Tethyan Trench.
At the same time, Madagascar, Australia and India are thought to have separated from Antarctica and moved North. While Madagascar has since locked on the African Plate, India and Australia continue to move at about 5–6 cm a year.
- Batten, Don, et. al., What about continental drift? Chapter 11 of The Creation Answers Book (2007).