The initial break-up of Pangaea took place in the Early Jurassic. The effect was like unzipping the great supercontinent from south to north. Sediments in the eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast regions of North America, and in Venezuela and West Africa, record the opening and widening of a seaway.
Also at this time, some of the earliest epicontinental (or "epeiric") seas of the Mesozoic Era first made their appearances. Epicontinental seas are shallow marine waters that cover parts of continents. In the past, epicontinental seas were considerably more widespread than they are today, because then eustatic (or global) sea levels were higher than they are now.
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