Geography – The Evolution of Earth

The Geographer by Johannes Vermeer

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Nearly 306 million years ago, the supercontinent Pangaea dominated the globe. Encompassing all seven continents of the world we know today, Pangaea evolved. Like everything else, the Earth is never permanently stagnant but in a constant state of change. The right question to ask is not whether or not the Earth would change but how and when the world would change.

Around 237 million years ago, India was still wedged between Antarctica and Africa. The world then was very different from what it is today. Approximately 130 million years ago, North America started to split from Africa while China and Indochina joins with Siberia to form Eastern Asia. The world at the time, was divided into Laurasia in the North and Gondwana in the South.

Similar to Pangaea, Laurasia and Gondwana did not last forever and around 94 million years ago, the South Atlantic opened and vast shallow seas dominated the Sahara in Africa and the interior of North America. Around the same period of time, a new seaway separates Australia and Antarctica from the rest of the world.  Following that, the next great change of Earth’s surface happened aroung 70 million years ago, when India which was then an island detached from the rest of the world started to move northwards and ended up crashing into the rest of Asia.

Today, we can still see the extent and impact of the crash of India into mainland Asia by looking at the great collision belt extending from Indonesia, across the Himalaya and into Europe. Most notably is the height of the Himalayan mountains which is the direct result of crash. The atmosphere of the earth is also in constant change. Look how fast the weather changes in some parts of the Earth and how temperatures across the globe fluctuates. Just as the outer surface of the Earth is not the same throughout the ages, the inner structure of the Earth is constantly changing. Earthquakes and Volcanoes are a good testament to how volatile the Earth really is.

While we cannot see with the naked eye many of the changes that is happening to the surface of the Earth, we do know that these changes are happening in reality. Fault lines located on top of the boundaries of tectonic plates gives us solid evidence that earthquakes and tsunamis happen due to the volatility beneath the Earth’s surface.

Thus, geography maps the changes happening to Earth’s surface and is fundamentally the knowledge of the evolution of Earth.

Comments
3 Responses to “Geography – The Evolution of Earth”
  1. pochp says:

    Great piece again J.
    I read a book that claims California was once a mystical island called Lemuria. Can you confirm this?

  2. jamesesz says:

    WOO..I heard of Lemuria..But California? I thought it was believed to be located in the Indian Ocean…..They believe Crete might be Atlantis though

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