Time-lapse sim of Earth's land mass movement

Here's a nice time-lapse video simulation depicting the probable past and possible future of the Earth's land masses, "650 Million Years In 1:20 Minutes." (via CT2)



  1. Oh noes! Portugal is going to end up at the North Pole! As of today, I’m all in favour of global warming.

  2. 150 million years into the future, Sarah Palin *really will* be able to see Russia from her house.

  3. At least California doesn’t break off into the ocean. I read that was going to happen next week….

  4. Anybody know the science behind predicting that the Americas will suddenly reverse direction and run back into Europe & Africa, creating a new Pangea? Suddenly the Mid-Atlantic Ridge will decide to be a subduction zone instead?

    …In the course of whetting my curiosity, I came across the “Pangaea Ultima” theory, which sorta-kinda-notreally explains it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangaea_Ultima

  5. Yes, check out the Neal Adams video. How did India climb over the Mid-Indian Ocean Ridge? It didn’t. The Earth has been expanding for 180 million years.

  6. @10 How silly – the Earth growing. Didn’t have time for 10 minutes of such nonsense.

    But, I would like to say I question the “probable” shape shifting of the continents we were shown. For instance I question that there is no Rift Valley ripping Africa apart which I saw on some map years ago where they were also predicting the continents. And what’s that about the Atlantic becoming nothing again. That doesn’t seem very likely either.

  7. I’m curious as to why this animation begins so recently: 650 million years compared to the Earth’s ago of about 4500 million. That’s only about 1/7 of our planet’s history. 650 MYA, by the way, is just about exactly when multicellular animals first appeared in the oceans. There weren’t plants on land until about 500 MYA.

  8. Hi.

    The reason the simulation is only the last 650 Million years, is that continental reconstruction gets really iffy before that (Now is that Western Australia, Siberia or the Amazon attached to Quebec?.

    Now about the disappearing Atlantic ocean, from as we can tell, when oceanic crust gets about 180 -190 million years old it detaches from the continental crust or oceanic crust and starts to subduct. You can see this in Japan and the Mariana’s where the oceanic crust has detached and is sliding beneath other oceanic crust.

    Now in about 20 million years that will start happening off the coast of North Carolina and North America will be slowly dragged back across the Atlantic. (or so they say)

    What is more likely is that bits of north America will start flaking off leaving Japan and Phillipine sized island clusters in it’s wake as new oceans open up to compensate for crust subducted. No we won’t be able to drive to France, we’ll have to take a ferry to Philadelphia. If we’re really lucky the mid continental rift that’s slowly ripping Nevada will extend and everything west of winnemuca to weezer will sail away. Remember Antarctica used to be part of Wyoming.

  9. If you live in the U.S. remember that property on the West Coast is the best long-term investment.

  10. #20 – I believe it’s Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite “Morning”. Great animation and an inspired choice for the music!

  11. And here we are talking about global warming and animal extinction. There will come a time when we’ll realize that earth is more than meets the eye, and our view on it forever outdated.

    Try preserving plate tectonics!

  12. Don’t worry. By the time Pangaea reforms, the sun will have swollen up to take out the orbits of Mercury, Venus and the Earth by then, and the moon will have floated away into space.

  13. #10

    I can’t believe I sat through that entire video.

    What a waste of time! And what a basic misunderstanding of pretty much everything, from tectonics to basic physics. Brilliant. Only the internet could produce something as dangerously deranged as that.

  14. Interesting video that may or may not have any basis in scientific fact. I think that plate tectonics are understood well enough and the geological evidence is available to reconstruct the past, projection into the future is the tricky part.

    The biggest distraction in the video is the awful Mercator projection used on the map. When land masses move to or past the poles the view is so distorted that you can’ really tell what is happening. Perhaps two views of the opposite sides of the globe would get the message across with less distortion. Of course I am just a critic without the time or ability to put together my own video so the creator may take or leave my suggestion as they choose.

  15. It seems to me that if we get another “Pangea,” we’ll again have such a disrupted climate that a vast inland desert will form, ruining a lot of the ecology we enjoy today. All things being equal, if the dieoff is large enough, we might get an Iceball Earth again.

  16. @27 / @28

    I think our best chance for long-term survival of the species is to turn the entire planet into a space-ship and head out before the sun goes nova. This means stopping tectonic motion, cooling the planet from the inside out, and using that energy to build a giant sphere with engines that we can roam the universe with and not starve or freeze.

    We need to do some long term planning in this direction. We’re barely scratching the skin of this planet. We need to start thinking about serious terraforming and resource management.

  17. What I found cool is to watch India break off of Antarctica [@0:26-0:30] and charge north as Madagascar breaks off and parks off Africa while India charges Eurasia and smashes into the Middle East. Hence, no monkeys in Madagascar; only lemurs, and only on Madagascar. Cool stuff!

  18. #10 Right on. I’ve watched that video many times and find it nothing but completely plausible. I don’t understand why people flip out and call it “dangerously deranged” … hahahahaha

  19. #29:
    “@10:Brilliant. Only the internet could produce something as dangerously deranged as that.”

    As dangerously deranged as, say, death cakes??

    I enjoyed the video at #10. I ain’t saying I buy it all, but as a mass floating in space gets larger, doesn’t it’s gravitational pull increase and attract more substance, and grow faster? That seems to be the case with my cousin Ernie. How many tons of “space dust” bombard the Earth daily?

  20. @36 About 4 x 10^2 tonnes each day, 1.46 x 10^4 tonnes a year

    The Earth’s current mass is 5.74 x 10^21 tonnes.

    So at the current rate it would take Earth 3.9 x 10^15 years to grow by one percent. “Would” of course, since our sun’s good only for another 8×10^9 years.

  21. so amazing. to think that the entirety of human history has happened within one shape of this progression.

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