This High-Res Animation Of 540 Million Years Of Plate Tectonics Will Blow Your Socks Off

We are at the mercy of planet Earth’s break-ups and make-ups, and a brand-new set of maps demonstrates this perfectly.

I am of course talking about plate tectonics, which, depending on who you ask, started as far back as 3.5 billion years ago or maybe even as late as 1 billion years ago.

Thanks to the ability of oceanic crust to get cold, denser, and sink into the superheated-yet-solid mantle, we have a geologically thrilling surface world to live on.

Over time, driven by a somewhat enigmatic cycle, you get the assembly of supercontinents and their eventual destruction. Forget Pangaea – there were several massive interconnected continental masses before this, and there will be plenty afterwards, as long as Earth’s innards remain sufficiently warm.

There’s a lot more to it than this, but it explains why part of Australia can be sitting atop a very ancient slither of North America. It reveals why we have complex volcanology, colossal earthquakes, ocean basins, and even an atmosphere in the first place. Plate tectonics rock.

These maps are remarkably detailed. PALEOMAP

Someone who would certainly agree with this is Professor Christopher Scotese, a plate tectonics maestro. 

An emeritus of the University of Texas and an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, he’s long been in charge of PALEOMAP, a glorious website full of cartography and animations of the movement of tectonic plates throughout Earth’s storied history.

Constantly updated with the most available data, the maps have been getting technically and aesthetically better over time, and some of the latest works have just been published. One, showing how the continents have shifted around in the past 540 million years, was shared on Twitter by renowned climatologist Dr. Gavin Schmidt.

If you’re wondering, by the way, why the seafloor suddenly becomes hi-res quite late into the simulation, it’s because it’s all quite young. Oceanic crust, born at mid-ocean ridges, subducts and is destroyed in the mantle over time. Most is below 200 million years old, although a curiously preserved ribbon of it found below the Mediterranean Sea dates back 340 million years.

This latest dataset is particularly gorgeous: it features digital representations of the paleotopography (shape of the surface) and paleobathymetry (shape of seafloor) that, along with the movement of the continents, have been reconstructed over time. With the help of doctoral student Nicky Wright of the Australian National University, the maps and underlying data are free for anyone to access.

This set has been uploaded to EarthByte, an international collaboration spearheaded by various Australian universities and assorted research institutes all over the world. The goal is, through this collaboration, to gather as much solid data as possible to recreate a virtual Earth that anyone can view – a noble pursuit, I’m sure you’ll agree.


  1. This is such an informative post. You have a lot of really great points. I wish I had this post as a resource when I started blogging.
    BIM documentation in USA

  2. Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job,Keep it up.BIM Documentation in India!

  3. How i got back my ex husband after he left me and our kids” I suggest you read my testimony. I'm Tracy Mattingly from united state, I'm so excited my husband is back after he left me for another woman. My husband was having an affair with a co-worker and i love my husband so much but he was cheating on me with his co-worker and this girl i think use witchcraft or black magic on my husband to make him hate me and this was so critical and uncalled-for, I cry all day and night for God to send me a helper to bring back my husband! I was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help get ex-boyfriend back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it, then he did a love spell for me. 11hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me so much, Oh My God! i was so happy, and today i am happy with my man again and we are joyfully living together and i thank the powerful spell caster Dr.Unity, he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the here. if you are here and your Lover is turning you down, or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact Dr.Unity for help now..Here’s his contact Email him at: or Call/Whats-app: +2348055361568 ,website:


  4. i couldn't believe that i would ever be re-unite with my ex-lover, i was so traumatize staying all alone with no body to stay by me and to be with me, but i was so lucky one certain day to meet this powerful spell caster Dr Akhere,after telling him about my situation he did everything humanly possible to see that my lover come back to me,indeed after casting the spell my ex-lover came back to me less than 48 hours,my ex-lover came back begging me that he will never leave me again,3 months later we got engaged and married,if you are having this same situation just contact Dr Akhere on his email: thanks very much sir for restoring my ex-lover back to me,his email: or call/whatsapp:+2349057261346

    hindi ako makapaniwala na kailanman ay muling makiisa ako sa aking kasintahan, labis akong na-trauma sa pananatiling nag-iisa na walang katawan na manatili sa akin at makakasama ko, ngunit napakasuwerte ako sa isang tiyak na araw upang matugunan ito malakas na spell caster na si Dr Akhere, matapos sabihin sa kanya ang tungkol sa aking sitwasyon ginawa niya ang lahat ng makataong posible upang makita na ang aking kasintahan ay bumalik sa akin, sa katunayan matapos na ihagis ang spell ang aking dating kasintahan ay bumalik sa akin ng mas mababa sa 48 oras, dumating ang dating kasintahan ko. bumalik sa pagmamakaawa sa akin na hindi na niya ako pababayaan, 3 buwan mamaya kami ay nakipag-ugnay at nag-asawa, kung nagkakaroon ka ng parehong sitwasyong ito makipag-ugnay lamang kay Dr Akhere sa kanyang email: maraming salamat sa sir sa pagpapanumbalik ng aking dating kasintahan bumalik sa akin, ang kanyang email: o tumawag / whatsapp: +2349057261346

  5. Hello Admin!

    Thanks for the post. It was very interesting and meaningful. I really appreciate it! Keep updating stuffs like this. If you are looking for the Advertising Agency in Chennai | Printing in Chennai , Visit Inoventic Creative Agency Today..

  6. Hello Admin!

    Thanks for the post. It was very interesting and meaningful. I really appreciate it! Keep updating stuffs like this. If you are looking for the Advertising Agency in Chennai | Printing in Chennai , Visit Inoventic Creative Agency Today..

  7. Thanks for sharing these useful information! This is really interesting information for me.
    Seo Services in Delhi, Best SEO Company in Delhi NCR, Best SEO Agency Delhi


Powered by Blogger.