Planation surfaces of the Gondwana continents: synthesis and problems

Clifford Ollier

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The geomorphology of Gondwana was different from that of the fragments created when it broke up. These fragments, now continents and large islands, inherited some features from the original Gondwana landscape, including major drainage patterns and planation surfaces. Other features including Great Escarpments could only form after the break-up, and some erosion surfaces are also formed after break-up and graded to new base levels. The continents of Gondwana derivation have geomorphic histories that have many features in common but also some distinct features peculiar to individual fragments.

    In this chapter I describe the geomorphology of the Gondwana fragments and give an outline of the various ways the evidence has been interpreted, including the major controversies. All the fragments have a succession of planation surfaces but seldom the neat step-like succession of simplistic descriptions. Their age and correlation is difficult to determine, as is their relationship to tectonics and changes of climate. Lester King was perhaps premature in his attempts to correlate planation surfaces all over the world, but his aim is still a valuable lead. Since his day there has been a profusion of more detailed local studies, and the next task is to integrate them into a new Gondwana-wide synthesis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGondwana landscapes of Southern South America
    EditorsJorge Rabassa, Clifford Ollier
    Place of PublicationDordrecht
    ISBN (Print)9789400777019
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Publication series

    NameSpringer Earth System Sciences


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