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USGS Geology in the Parks

Color-coded Continents!

Scroll down to view reconstructions of continental motions from 620 million years ago through the present. Land masses are color-coded to make it easier to track the pieces of the continents as they move about. These reconstructions were developed by C. Scotese and the PALEOMAP Project at the University of Texas. To learn more about how geologists reconstruct past continental positions, click here.

Continental movement

Yellow = North America | | Green = South America | | Light blue = Africa | | Red = Eurasia
Dark blue = Australia | Fuchsia = Antarctica

The Earth today

The earth today

30 million years ago

30 million years ago

90 million years ago

90 million years ago

120 million years ago

120 million years ago

150 million years ago

160 million years ago

180 million years ago

180 million years ago

210 million years ago

210 million years ago

240 million years ago

240 million years ago

270 million years ago

270 million years ago

300 million years ago

300 million years ago

330 million years ago

330 million years ago

360 million years ago

360 million years ago

390 million years ago

390 million years ago

420 million years ago

420 million years ago

450 million years ago

450 million years ago

490 million years ago

490 million years ago

520 million years ago

520 million years ago

560 million years ago

560 million years ago

590 million years ago

590 million years ago

620 million years ago

620 million years ago

The Earth today

The Earth today

Reconstructing ancient Earth

These remarkable figures are produced by C.R. Scotese and the PALEOMAP project. Geologists call these illustrations paleogeographic reconstructions, because they illustrate the reconstructed geography of our Earth at some time in the past.

Making a paleogeographic reconstruction begins by examining several lines of evidence including: paleomagnetism, magnetic anomalies, paleobiogeography, paleoclimatology, and geologic history. By combining all available evidence, geologists are able to construct paleogeographic maps, such as these, that interpret how the geography might have appeared at a specific location and time in the past. Paleogeographic maps are continually being refined as more evidence is collected.

To find out more about how paleogeographic reconstructions are made visit the PALEOMAP project site.


| Into Earth | | Putting the pieces toge ther | | Action at the edges |
| National Parks by Tectonic Regions |
| Earth through time | | Detailed version: This Dynamic Earth |

 

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