Av·​a·​lo·​nia ˌa-və-ˈlō-nyə How to pronounce Avalonia (audio)
: a tectonic plate that was an independent continent about 500 million years ago and is currently divided between southwestern Great Britain and eastern North America
A strip of the Maine coast south of Bangor is part of Avalonia. So too is eastern Massachusetts and all of Rhode Island. … Fossil trilobites found in outcrops at Braintree, Massachusetts, are also found in the Carolinas, the Canadian Maritime Provinces, southern Ireland, and parts of England and Wales—but nowhere else on Earth.Chet Raymo and Maureen E. Raymo, Boston Globe, 11 Dec. 1988

Word History


probably back-formation from Avalonian (by analogy with other paleogeographical entities such as Laurentia), as in Avalonian orogeny, Avalonian platform, etc., from Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland + -ian

First Known Use

1979, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Avalonia was in 1979

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Cite this Entry

“Avalonia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Avalonia. Accessed 29 May. 2024.

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