100 million years of Earth's evolution shown in unprecedented video

Dmitry IvancheskulLife
Scientists show how other continents formed from Pangea

Scientists have created the most detailed animation of how the Earth's surface has changed over the past 100 million years, forming continents and oceans. The published video is the most detailed ever created by scientists, depicting the rise of mountains, the development of ocean basins and the transfer of large masses of sedimentary rocks across the globe through erosion.

The scientists described the model of the Earth's surface formation in an article published in the journal Science. Their animation shows the movement of tectonic plates, which collide with each other to form mountain ranges and move apart to form ocean basins. The video also shows the formation of mountains and volcanoes (to watch the video, scroll to the end of the news story).

"While the dance of the continents is well understood, we are still limited in our understanding and appreciation of how the earth's surface has evolved," said Tristan Salles, a senior lecturer in geosciences at the University of Sydney and lead author of the paper.

He explained to LiveScience that the published article proposes a new model that takes into account how the Earth's formation was influenced by the atmosphere, hydrosphere, tectonic and mantle dynamics.

At the beginning of the video, we can see how the supercontinent Pangaea was falling apart 100 million years ago.

Map of the supercontinent Pangaea

In the video, you can see the recognisable shapes of the continents that will later become Africa and South America. The continents of the Northern Hemisphere will unite only in tens of millions of years.

The video shows the flow of water in blue, and the intensity of the deposition of new sedimentary rocks by erosion in red.

"This unprecedented model of the Earth's recent past will provide geologists with a more complete and dynamic understanding of the Earth's surface," said Laurent Husson, a co-author of the study and a geologist at the Institute of Earth Sciences in Grenoble (France).

During their work, the researchers found that the speed of sedimentary rock movement around the globe is likely to be much higher than previously thought. The reason for this is probably that sedimentary rocks are fragmented.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL also told about scientists who put forward a new theory of the origin of life on Earth.

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