Palaeogeography (or paleogeography) is the study of historical geography, generally physical landscapes. Palaeogeography can also include the study of human or cultural environments. When the focus is specifically on landforms, the term paleogeomorphology is sometimes used instead. Paleomagnetism, paleobiogeography, and tectonic history are among its main tools.
Paleogeography yields information that is crucial to scientific understanding in a variety of contexts. For example, paleogeographic analysis of sedimentary basins plays a key role in the field of petroleum geology, because ancient geomorphological environments of the Earth's surface are preserved in the stratigraphic record. Paleogeographers also study the sedimentary environment associated with fossils for clues to the evolutionary development of extinct species.
Paleogeographic evidence contributed to the development of continental drift theory, and continues to inform current plate tectonic theories, yielding information about the shape and latitudinal location of supercontinents such as Pangaea and ancient oceans such as Panthalassa, thus enabling reconstruction of prehistoric continents and oceans.
- Paleoclimatology: Study of ancient climates.
- Paleoecology: Study of interactions between organisms and their environments across geologic timescales.
- Paleontology: Study of ancient life, often involving fossils and pollen (palynology).
- Paleohydrology: Study of changes in hydrology over geological timescales.
- Physical geography
- Plate tectonics: Behavior of plates covering the surface of the Earth.
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