These interactive maps of the past are still mind-boggling! But, as you can tell from the first paragraph, this post first came out in May 2018, when I was still working on the domestic cat book and Kilauea’s eruption was just getting under way.
Between working on the ebook and keeping up with Kilauea (see “live” blog link in upper right corner of the page), I can only put up some guest videos to thank people for coming here.
However, I found this site, first with the interactive globe that shows what position the continents were in down through geologic time.
For example, you have heard that a big asteroid hit the Yucatan 65 million years ago and caused a mass extinction, right? And you picture an impact on modern-day Mexico.
But the continents were arranged somewhat differently back in the day:
The impact happened on the Yucatan Platform, which was partly underwater. Only later on did the Yucatan Peninsula develop through ongoing plate tectonic movements.
Experts know this, but it’s cool to have something the rest of us can look at.
Of course, the interactive globe rotates and has clouds, too. You have to remind yourself that the images aren’t 100% guaranteed to be correct – it’s just how these particular folks see the past, based on the geological record.
I don’t know who they are, but they seem reliable. I found them through a geologist’s tweet, and they used the PaleoDB as a basis, which is good. (Here is another excellent source of paleocontinent reconstructions, if you want to compare the images with another point of view.)
Their main focus is dinosaurs, though. I need say nothing more than that this is the ultimate dinosaur art portal–over a thousand of them–online. Check it out–after all, we are in a golden age of dinosaur discovery!
Featured image: Another interactive globe screenshot, set at 35 million years, around the point in Earth’s history when the first cat-like carnivorans–nimravids–first appeared.