Definition - What does Tethys Sea mean?
Tethys Sea was an ocean which existed about 250 million years ago during the Mesozoic Era. Tethys sea was present between the Laurasia and Gondwana continents when there was no Indian or Atlantic oceans. It was the sea that divided the one large piece of land called “Pangaea” into two super large continents known as Laurasia and Gondwana. The Tethys sea is also known as Tethys Ocean or Neotethys.
Petropedia explains Tethys Sea
The Tethys Seas were distinguished based on the years or era in which they existed. The first Tethys sea was called “Paleo” which means old. It was formed around 320 million years ago in late “Paleozoic Era” when all landmasses converged to form a big super giant continent of “Pangaea”. Paleo Tethys during its existence formed an eastward opening oceanic embayment of Pangaea which is now known as the Mediterranean region.
The second Tethys sea known as Neotethys (New or young), commonly referred to as Tethys Sea began its formation during the rotation of Cimmerian continent when Mesozoic the Era started to evolve around 250 million years ago. During the Jurassic time, the super giant continent “Pangaea” was broken down into two super large continents: Laurasia toward the North and Gondwana toward the South having a gradual opening of Tethys into a dominant marine seaway of the Mesozoic. Once the opening was created, a large volume of warm water lying on the land, flowed westward between the continents and got connected with the major oceans. This helped in maintaining the Earth's heat transportation and climate control system. When there was a major increase in the sea level, the expansion of tethyan seaway took place which got merged with the seaways that used to flow to the northern regions as indicated by the evidence of fossils of mixed Tethyan tropical faunas and more-temperate northern faunas.