Watch 1 Billion Years of Earth’s Movement in 40 Seconds
New research has allowed geoscientists to show the uninterrupted movement of Earth’s tectonic plates over the past one billion years for the first time. This astonishing development could help us understand how plate tectonics powers life on Earth.
The science and other stuff to know
In one of the most complete models of tectonic plate movements ever put together, scientists at the University of Sydney condensed Earth’s one billion years of movement into a 40-second video. Now we can see how these giant slabs of rock have interacted over time. The video is based on a new study published in the journal Earth-Science Reviews.
The moving and sliding of the plates in the video is a sight to behold. Land masses that were close neighbors become distant cousins and vice versa. And as they move, they affect their evolution, the world’s climate, tidal patterns, animal movements, volcanic activity, the production of metals, and more.
“A place like Antarctica that we see as a cold, icy inhospitable place today, actually was once quite a nice holiday destination at the equator,” geologist Michael Tetley, co-author of the study, explained to Euronews in 2021.
These plates are more than just a covering for our planet. They are a life support system that affects everything that lives on the surface. With this model, scientists can now understand how ocean currents altered and how climate has changed. It can also help us learn how nutrients fluxed from the deep Earth to stimulate biological evolution.