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Tethys Ocean Floor

Tethys Ocean Floor

Endless and eternal are two words most often associated with the sea. Yet, like so many structures on Earth, the vast oceans of the world exist in a constant state of change, and even after hundreds of millions of years, they sometimes disappear leaving only the smallest trace of their passing.

The Tethys Ocean was an ancient sea that emerged out of Pangea in the Triassic period. For millions of years, it was filled with aquatic animals like ammonites, plesiosaurs, and ichthyosaurs. As tectonic plates crashed against each other though, the bedrock of the ocean was lifted thousands of feet above sea level. This brought about the end of the Tethys and created many mountain ranges within Eurasia.

This specimen is a fragment of oceanic slate from the prehistoric Tethys seafloor. It was recovered from the Himalayas along the banks of the Gandaki River (Kali) in Nepal. Composed primarily of ammonite and belemnite fossils, this layer of dark shale was lifted tens of thousands of feet above sea level as the Indian subcontinent crashed into Asia.

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