Arctica was an ancient continent
A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. They are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, with seven regions commonly regarded as continents—they are : Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.Plate tectonics is...

 which formed approximately 2.5 billion years ago in the Neoarchean
The Neoarchean is a geologic era within the Archaean. It spans the period of time from —the period being defined chronometrically and not referenced to a specific level in a rock section on Earth...


Arctica consisted of the Canadian
Canadian Shield
The Canadian Shield, also called the Laurentian Plateau, or Bouclier Canadien , is a vast geological shield covered by a thin layer of soil that forms the nucleus of the North American or Laurentia craton. It is an area mostly composed of igneous rock which relates to its long volcanic history...

 and Siberian
Siberia (continent)
Siberia is the craton located in the heart of the region of Siberia. Siberia or "Angaraland" is today the Central Siberian Plateau...

 shields, and is now roughly situated in the Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 around the current North Pole
North Pole
The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is, subject to the caveats explained below, defined as the point in the northern hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface...



Arctica joined with the continents Atlantica
Atlantica is the name given to an ancient continent that formed during the Proterozoic about from various 2 Ga cratons located in what is now West Africa and eastern South America....

 and Nena
Nena (supercontinent)
Nena was an ancient minor supercontinent that consisted of the cratons of Arctica, Baltica, and East Antarctica. Forming about 1.8 billion years ago, the continent was part of the global supercontinent, Columbia. Nena is an acronym that derives from Northern Europe and North...

 about one billion years ago to form the supercontinent
In geology, a supercontinent is a landmass comprising more than one continental core, or craton. The assembly of cratons and accreted terranes that form Eurasia qualifies as a supercontinent today.-History:...

, Rodinia
In geology, Rodinia is the name of a supercontinent, a continent which contained most or all of Earth's landmass. According to plate tectonic reconstructions, Rodinia existed between 1.1 billion and 750 million years ago, in the Neoproterozoic era...


With the breakup of the supercontinent Arctica's fragments mostly stayed at higher latitudes since this time.


Arctica was chosen as a name because for most of the time since its formation the continent and the cratons that broke away from it have spent most of their time in northerly latitudes.
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