The continents are moving!
A). Can you imagine a time when India was an island?
B). Can you imagine a time when there were no Himalayas, and places like Dehra Dun, Darjeeling and Kathmandu were beaches with palm trees?
Scientists tell us that millions of years ago, this was how it was!
In the place where we now have the Himalayas, there was a sea. Scientists call it the Tethys Sea or the Tethys Ocean.
In fact, million of years ago, India was part of Africa. It broke away from Africa and drifted in a North –easterly direction in the Tethys Sea. During this period, which lasted million of years, it was an island.
Finally, this island touched the continent of Asia. And it joined with it. India and Asia were fully joined only five to ten million years ago, before that happened, there was a sea separating India from Asia.
When India touched the continent of Asia, it pushed into it with great force. It was this forceful push that created Himalayas. The force of this push has not yet been spent. The Indian subcontinent is still pushing into Asia! And as a result, the Himalayas are growing!
Even 20.000 years ago, the Himalayas were not as tall as they are now. For we know that the rain clouds used to cross the Himalayas into some south –western parts of China at that time. These parts now get rain at all, because the clouds are stopped by the mountains; so in those days the mountains must have been much lower.
Where we now have the Himalayas, there were beaches earlier. Scientists have found shells, and other such remains of sea creatures, in the Himalayas. It is not only India that has moved. All the big landmasses-called continents-have moved.
Take a look at the map of the world. Can you see how South America and Africa `fit together’? A German geologist named Alfred Wegener noticed this. And he wondered: could these landmasses have been joined together at one time? He was the first person to suggest that continents move.
He suggested that 220 million years ago, all the continents were joined together in one supercontinent. He called it `Pangaea’ (which means `all –earth’. Pangaea began to break up about 200 million years ago. The pieces slowly drifted apart to become the continents that we know today. Before Pangaea broke up, South America used to be joined to Africa. It was part of the western side of Africa. And North America used to be joined to Europe.