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Some of the things you wanted to know about the historical shapes of continents but were afraid to ask...
August 26, 2012 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Earth Birth between 13 billion years ago and 250 million years after the current year [aka The Future].

a video showing the birth of our earth 13 billion 700 million years ago (13.700.000.000) when the universe was only a white dot in the dark and how our earth will be within 250 million years after (250.000.000) after our actual year. This video can be watched in the Science Natural Museum of Barcelona. [note you can see the back of the earth in the mirror.]
posted by infinite intimation (19 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Beautiful.
posted by darkstar at 9:56 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was even cooler than I expected.
posted by notsnot at 9:57 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Incredible.
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on August 26, 2012


How very cool. I really liked it.

I guess the future is something like Pangaea 2: Return of the Super-Continent.
posted by 4ster at 10:28 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's all full of Squibbons and shit. Then the sea chokes up with bacteria and turns purple.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


They are clearly covering up the hideous truth of the long struggle between the Elder Things and the followers of Cthulhu. I guess they are afraid of us correlating the contents or something.

WAKE UP SHEEPLE DEEP ONES!

OK, more seriously, that was pretty gorgeous. I could use one of those in my living room.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:57 AM on August 26, 2012


That was unbelievable. And what incredible music.
posted by lobbyist at 11:06 AM on August 26, 2012


The earth cares not your borders!
posted by roboton666 at 11:21 AM on August 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I liked the part at the end where Half Life 3 was published.
posted by R. Schlock at 11:43 AM on August 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


I love 90% of this, but there are two things that niggle me.

1. The continental movements turn on a dime -- one millennium some proto-continent is steaming full-speed Eastward, then a mere 1000 years later it's sprinting North.

2. When a shallow sea turns into dry land, I suspect that the waterline moves, rather than the entire area smoothly fading from "submerged" to "not submerged".

Seems nitpicky, but given the fantastic amount of work that has gone into figuring out the history of the continents, I feel like they sort of skimped on parts of the rendering.
posted by bjrubble at 12:46 PM on August 26, 2012


That was certainly beautiful but isn't the beginning part misleadingly portraying many of the "Misconceptions About The Big Bang"? (Scientific American article) Like, to my understanding based on readings like that article the Big Bang was not at all similar to an exploding object which scatters matter out into empty space.

If I understand it correctly there isn't any particular evidence indicating that the entire universe was just a small dot pre-expansion - space, and the dense matter/proto-matter/energy/whatever contained in it, may well have extended infinitely in all directions. The visible universe which we can see today inside the Hubble volume is what would have been the size of a dot but cosmologists don't think that the universe ends outside of what we can see and it's darkness and void or non-existence beyond, not necessarily at least, it's just that the laws of physics prevent us from knowing what's beyond that edge.

(However, I'm not a scientist or anything and haven't even ever taken a cosmology course, so anyone with more direct knowledge feel free to correct me.)
posted by XMLicious at 12:51 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think artistic license is inescapable in any visual depiction of the big bang, because that depiction relies on spacetime being in the condition that we exist in now and with which our brains and senses are equipped to work.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:57 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re the "Misconceptions About The Big Bang" article: the statement

As space expands, light waves get stretched. If the universe doubles in size during the waves' journey, their wavelengths double and their energy is halved.

raises an interesting question. Since energy is always conserved - and the energy of a photon is inversely proportional to its wavelength (E=ħc/λ) - what happens to the energy 'lost' by the light waves 'stretched' by the expansion?
posted by Twang at 2:07 PM on August 26, 2012


I think artistic license is inescapable in any visual depiction of the big bang, because that depiction relies on spacetime being in the condition that we exist in now and with which our brains and senses are equipped to work.

I suppose, but I wonder whether it's actually artistic license or someone punting on getting their facts straight. The Scientific American article points out that it's often even textbooks and prominent scientists who get it wrong. It seems like a little more artistry could come up with a slightly less sciencey-creation-myth way of depicting it.
posted by XMLicious at 2:12 PM on August 26, 2012


raises an interesting question. Since energy is always conserved - and the energy of a photon is inversely proportional to its wavelength (E=ħc/λ) - what happens to the energy 'lost' by the light waves 'stretched' by the expansion?

The energy from that light reaching a certain point per second is what is halved. There is still the same amount of energy in that light wave, it's just spread out over twice the distance, so it just takes twice as long to receive the same amount of energy from that source.
posted by Kaigiron at 2:20 PM on August 26, 2012


Depictions of the big bang inevitably show a "blast center" away from the camera, a "flash", then debris rushing towards the camera. However the big bang took place everywhere in the universe (it was the point in spacetime where/when everything was at the same point). Thus the proper depiction would be: the whole screen is bright white, then gradually cooling to allow slight homogeneities to form (still mostly white but with some flickering greys), then a the moment of recombination, the white/grey haze fades and you can see debris moving away from the camera.

I also would have liked to see a depiction of the formation of the milky way, the solar system, and Earth, all of which would be visually striking when animated correctly to our current understanding. I guess the reconstruction of continental drift was itself a LOT of work, and the cosmology stuff was probably an afterthought.

As for red-shifted light, energy is indeed decreased (there is no "twice as long to receive the same amount of radiation argument, because the energy in individual photons is decreased, and the number of photons received will not increase correspondingly). The real resolution is that on the scale of the size of the whole universe, energy is not conserved. Energy conservation is a local rule.
posted by Humanzee at 4:50 PM on August 26, 2012


I've always wondered about Pangea, and why it's just assumed that if there's a giant continent on one side of the planet, there's not a corresponding landmass on the opposite side. You'd think there'd at least be an island or two. Something.
posted by crunchland at 5:37 PM on August 26, 2012


There's not a corresponding landmass on the opposite side because continents don't simply disappear. Continental crust is relatively less dense than the rest of the earth, so it stays at the surface of the tectonic plate. Since we don't have twice as much land mass today, we make an assumption that there was not twice as much land mass in the past.

We also don't make a simple assumption about a single giant land mass, but we reconstruct a paleo-environment by looking at geologic and biologic data.
posted by sopwath at 5:58 PM on August 26, 2012


You people are too damn smart, you know that? I just don't have time to get into deep intelligent discourse anymore.

I love you all, smart metafilter-ers.
posted by roboton666 at 6:13 PM on August 26, 2012


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