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Wave of massive volcanoes created Earth’s first supercontinent

The first supercontinent came into the world with a bang

The first supercontinent came into the world with a bang

Dana Stephenson/Getty

The world’s continents arrived in a blaze of fury. A pressure blow-out seems to have caused vast amounts of molten rock to spew out of the Earth and harden into solid land.

Until about 2.2 billion years ago, Earth was mostly underwater. A few small landmasses existed, but nothing like the vast continents we have today.

To understand how the continents formed, Christopher Spencer at Curtin University in Australia and his colleagues did the most comprehensive audit yet of the global geological record.

They found something strange:

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