Saturday, February 06, 2021

A billion years of continental drift: the movie

Well, this is fascinating, I think.

The journal Earth Science Reviews has published an animated simulation of the last billion years of tectonic movements of the earth's landmasses. Don't ask me how they can do that, but it's done and it seems to be science.

It's interesting to me that at no point is there an obvious "Pangaea moment" when all the continents as we know them today were clustered together and attached as one super-continent. Pangaea is supposed to have existed from 335 million years ago until 175 mlion years ago. This simulation does show various islands clustered around that time, and many of the islands are at least peripherally attached to each other, with narrow connecting bridges and isthmuses. But this is not the huge, wide block of land I usually envisage.

Also interesting: for much of the time, most of the earth's land masses were clustered around the south pole, with most of the globe just one vast ocean.

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