In the 1960s, the Beatles were arguably the biggest musical act the world had ever seen. Then, in 1970, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr went their separate ways. Rumors as to why the Beatles had broken up flew fast and furious. Some said John Lennon's partner Yoko Ono had caused the rift. Others speculated that George Harrison was frustrated with his limited role, and that Paul McCartney and John Lennon wanted to move in different directions musically. It's possible that the four lads from Liverpool just drifted apart, but fans wanted to know why. Even as separate solo artists, these men were all still undeniably members of the Beatles, whether they liked it or not.

The supercontinent Pangaea works in reverse. We met the continents as solo artists. It wasn't until 1912 that meteorologist Alfred Wegener hypothesized that the seven continents had once been joined as a supercontinent. Wegener had noticed that the borders of the continent matched up and fit together, almost like a giant jigsaw puzzle. There were other clues as well -- matching rocks and fossils were found in countries separated by oceans, and tropical plant fossils were found in polar regions (and vice versa), indicating that the continents might not have always been in their current positions.

Wegener called the supercontinent Pangaea, meaning "all lands" in Greek, and he said it was bordered by Panthalassa, the universal sea. He claimed the lands separated 250 million years ago by the process of continental drift, which means the continents just slowly fractured and went their separate ways. You might, if you were musically inclined, compare this action to the name of another British band, the Rolling Stones.

But like Beatlemaniacs, who wanted a darned good reason for why there wouldn't be another Beatles album, drifting apart seemed too weak of an answer. It didn't seem possible for the continents to just move along the ocean floor. Something stronger had to be at work.

What was this planetary Yoko Ono? Did something drive a rift through the continents and force them apart? And could another supercontinent emerge, just as another supergroup emerged when George Harrison formed the Traveling Wilburys? Figuring out how the continents drifted apart will take a magical mystery tour to the ocean floor.