Spinning globe, moving continents
March 6, 2018 1:40 AM   Subscribe

Astounding - thank you (I collect occasional links to cool online tools like this to share with geography teacher friends).
posted by dowcrag at 2:33 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]

I for one wouldn't mind an FPP with all your collected geography tools, dowcrag.

And this one is really cool.
posted by Harald74 at 3:58 AM on March 6 [8 favorites]

Yes, very cool! The linked Database of Prehistoric Creatures is good too.
posted by carter at 4:04 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]

This is awesome! I have shared with all my geography friends!
posted by bardophile at 4:20 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]

It looks fascinating - but is there a way to turn off the starfield background somehow? (For some reason looking at the globe against the stars is giving me vertigo.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:30 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]

Does it help if you turn off the spinning?
posted by Kattullus at 5:01 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]

I just learned how ignorant I am; I had somehow picked up (maybe from elementary or middle school) that Pangea was the starting point for continents, not a mid-point where they happened to come together. This actually makes way more sense once you think about it, of course.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:58 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]

You can zoom in - that may help with the vertigo.

This is super neat. It reminds me of a half abandoned project where I was making globe patterned twenty sided dice. Some of these old coastlines would make excellent options.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:35 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]

This is super neat. It reminds me of a half abandoned project where I was making globe patterned twenty sided dice. Some of these old coastlines would make excellent options.

Like this dymaxion globe? ...Also...the 'jump to' menu skips from 'first dinosaurs' to 'first flowers' and has the ages of the dinosaurs down at the bottom for some reason.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:06 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]

Like this dymaxion globe?
Quite like, or like this paper mockup though I mean it to be rollable, so that it could be used as a random location generator. Along with a 32 sided die for day, a 12 sided die for month, a d20 for century and percentile dice for year it could be an educational tool for learning history or a time portal game, or I could map other planets to have random spaceship crashes. You can get pretty good surface maps of the moon and mars especially that can work.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:29 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]

So good! I wish there were a slider!
posted by little onion at 7:32 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]

No matter what year you choose, you can turn the globe so that practically all you see is water.
posted by jabah at 7:43 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]

This brings to mind a couple of quotes that I particularly like from the John McPhee book Basin and Range:
"At any location on earth, as the rock record goes down into time and out into earlier geographies it touches upon tens of hundreds of stories, wherein the face of the earth often changed, changed utterly, and changed again, like the face of a crackling fire."

"If by some fiat I had to restrict all this writing to one sentence, this is the one I would choose: The summit of Mt. Everest is marine limestone."
Wikipedia has a list of major and minor supercontinents. Some of them have names that sound like heavy metal bands. Gondwana! Avalonia! Ur!

Geology is cool.
posted by compartment at 8:34 AM on March 6 [8 favorites]

I love this. In the past several months I've (re)read The Ancestor's tale, read Sapiens and the Sixth Extinction, and having a good mental picture of how the earth has changed as life has evolved is always helpful.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:59 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]

Some of them have names that sound like heavy metal bands. Gondwana! Avalonia! Ur!

I hear Superior Craton is playing Coachella next year.

The Sun has about 5 billion years before it cooks the Earth. That's about as long as it's already been around. My house will get dragged under the ocean again, or maybe under the edge of another plate and back out again, or maybe dragged north with the rest of this part of the Pacific plate until it's on top of a mountain.

Supercontinents are the future as well as the past, but I'll never see them. The sensation this gives me is similar to the one I get looking at the Hubble Deep Field photos, but somehow more visceral.
posted by curiousgene at 10:44 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]

It's wild to me that the map for 200 million years ago has basically nothing I recognize from today, but by 100 million years ago, the Americas, Africa, and Antarctica are pretty clearly identifiable, even if they're not quite in the contemporary configuration. It's also interesting how for the oldest maps, most of the dry land is clustered around the South Pole, which wasn't what I was expecting for who knows what reason.
posted by Copronymus at 10:55 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]

This is perfectly timed.

I have a michigan / great lakes sticker on the back of my car, and was thinking about getting it as a tattoo.

But all that flag waving by *those people* the past two years has made me think about the symbols we display.

And then I read that article last year about people in the midwest and what makes us special. One concept really stuck with me - parochial. Local. Avoid the big city. Avoid the world. Avoid moving. People in other places are dangerous. People in other countries are frightening.

And so instead of a michigan tattoo, I have been looking into a globe tattoo. But not just any globe. Pangaea. From back in the day when all the continents were hanging out together, and creatures could move freely without impassible boarders of ocean between continents.

It's not something I've ever seen before. I really like it.
posted by rebent at 11:26 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]

At 35 million years ago you can see how seals got trapped in an inland lake called Lake Baikal.
posted by RuvaBlue at 1:41 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]

Somehow we go from "Algae is the only multicellular plant, and there is still no complex life on land" to " The first land plants emerge, starting at the edge of the ocean. Plants evolve vascularity, the ability to transport water and nutrients through their tissues."

So apparently, complex animals evolved in the sea and complex plants on land. I suppose this makes sense in a way (I mean, just look) but it had never occurred to me!
posted by sjswitzer at 6:18 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]

Thank you so much Kattullus! This is exactly what I have been wishing for. Ever since I cut the cable, my sister and I have been watching Norwegian train videos and science videos. The past couple of weeks we've been concentrating on plate tectonics and the animations of the plate movements are always too fast or not from the angle I'd like to see. This is perfect!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:15 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]

This reminds me...many years ago, I worked in a natural history museum. One of the prominent features in the lobby was a large (around seven feet across or so) rotating globe with the oceans removed so you could see tectonic plate borders, undersea mountains and valleys, and so on.

One day while walking through the museum, I stumbled across what I thought was an ordinary school group, but it turned out to be a bunch of kids from one of the more fundamentalist local churches and their pastor, who had gathered them around the globe. Apparently the pastor's "point" was that continental drift was obviously nonsense, because you could see that the continents are solid and arren't floating around on anything.

To this day, I'm positive that my brain temporarily shutting down in the face of that level of not getting the concept is the only thing that kept me from getting fired.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:39 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

curiousgene: "Supercontinents are the future as well as the past, but I'll never see them."

Well, not with *that* attitude.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:24 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

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