Tethys Ocean

prehistoric ocean

The Tethys Ocean existed between the continents of Gondwana and Laurasia during much of the Mesozoic era.

First phase of the Tethys Ocean's forming: the (first) Tethys Sea starts dividing Pangaea into two supercontinents, Laurasia and Gondwana.

Several smaller versions have existed down to the present day. Today's Black Sea, Caspian Sea, and Aral Sea are remnants of the Tethys.


This is a list of names which have been used for different stages of the Tethys:

  • Proto-Tethys, from the latest Ediacaran to the Carboniferous 550–330 million years ago (mya)
  • Palaeo-Tethys or Paleo-Tethys, from Carboniferous to early Jurassic
  • Tethys Ocean proper, or Neo-Tethys, existed between the continents of Gondwana and Laurasia before the opening of the Indian and Atlantic oceans during the Cretaceous period. Roughly, a bigger Mediterranean, continuing right through to the Indian Ocean.
  • Alpine or Paratethys sea to the north of the Tethys, roughly where the Alps are today.