GONDWANALAND, is the name given to a supercontinent that is believed to have existed in the geological past. About 150 million years ago it became fragmented and began to spread apart, forming India and the Southern eontinents.
The name is derived from Gondwana, a region inhabited by the Gond tribe soııth of the Nar-bada Valley in India. In 1859 strata closely related to those in Gondwana was found in Australia, and similar discoveries followed on the other southern eontinents as well as the Falkland Islands, Madagasear, and New Zealand. In 1885 an Austrian geologist, F. E. Suess, sııggested that there had once been a continuous land mass in the Southern Hemisphere, and proposed the name “Gondwâna-Land” for this supercontinent.
Opinions on the cause of the fragmenting of Gondwanaland have varied. Suess thought that the intervening oceans had subsided and then risen, while others have thought that former lanck bridges had vanished. Many geologists today accept the theory of continental drift by sea-floor spreading as the best explanation.
The extent of Gondwanaland also has been debated. Suess excluded the Sahara, Egypt, Syria, and Arabia because they lack Gondwana roeks (as does South America north of the Amazon River), but climatic influences could have caused this difference. Many geologists now believe Gondwanaland’s northern boundary lay through the Caribbean Sea, the Alps, and the Himalayan mountains.