Visualizing 240 million years of tectonic plates drift


Earth tectonic drift Gplates project Geoawesomeness

Recent discussions about the fact that Australia is shifting its geographic coordinates by 1.5m (4.9ft) made us realized that Earth is much more dynamic than one might imagine. Australia is an extreme example as it’s located on one of the fastest moving tectonic plates with the speed of around 7 cm a year but all other continents also constantly drift.

In order to get a better understanding of that phenomena it’s worth to look back. 240 million years back. An online project called Gplates maps the continental drift from the moment when the Earth had a single mega-continent Pangea to present.

When you click on the play button on the top of the screen the service will show you a short story about how the super-continent drifted apart forming our planet as we know it today. The current land masses are shown beneath the shifting tectonic plates. The project also visualizes extension velocities at Earth’s major post-Pangea rift systems. Each of the colorful circles depicts the rift velocity. The geologic time and the layout can be changed at the top of the screen.

Really interesting project.

I'm a professional always thinking outside the box and a self-confessed gadget addict. As a son of a professor of cartography I was surrounded by maps all my life and as a result spatial way of thinking and seeing reality is naturally embedded in who I am.


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