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Mesozoic Era, second of Earth’s three major geologic eras of Phanerozoic time.
Its name is derived from the Greek term for “middle life.” The Mesozoic Era began 252.2 million years ago, following the conclusion of the Paleozoic Era, and ended 66 million years ago, at the dawn of the Cenozoic Era.
By the Middle Jurassic these landmasses had begun further fragmentation.
At that time much of Pangea lay between 60° N and 60° S, and at the Equator the widening Tethys Sea cut between Gondwana and Laurasia.
The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province, a huge volume of basalt, was created at the end of the Triassic during the initial rifting of Pangea.
The surface area of this igneous province originally covered more than 7 million square km (about 3 million square miles), and its rocks can be found today from Brazil to France.
During this era the continents began to move into their present-day configurations.
A distinct modernization of life-forms occurred, partly because of the demise of many earlier types of organisms.
Ocean basin deposits of Jurassic age are found today in the circum-Pacific region, along the coasts of eastern North America and the Gulf of Mexico, and on the margins of Eurasia and Gondwana (that is, along the northern and southern boundaries of the Tethys Sea).mountain building (orogeny) began on the western margins of both North and South America and between the separating fragments of Gondwana.Three of the five largest mass extinctions in Earth history are associated with the Mesozoic: a mass extinction occurred at the boundary between the Mesozoic and the preceding Paleozoic; another occurred within the Mesozoic at the end of the Triassic Period; and a third occurred at the boundary between the Mesozoic and subsequent Cenozoic, resulting in the demise of the dinosaurs.rifting during the Late Triassic.This separated Pangea into the continents of Laurasia and Gondwana.In parts of North America, lake and river sediments rich in dinosaur fossils were deposited alongside marine sediments. The orogenies of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods involved volcanism and plutonic intrusion such as occurred during the emplacement of granites and andesites in the Andes of South America during the Late Jurassic.Two of the largest volcanic events in Earth’s history occurred during the Mesozoic.