Shifting over the years

I still remember the lesson in Geography in high school. It was about the tectonic shift. I don’t recall any video or other proof that this was real. We just took his word for it, I guess. We probably had a textbook too! All I can remember was thinking that some day we might end up in Lake Huron or something!

But things do change. A few years ago, the annual CSTA conference was i Omaha, Nebraska. I flew into Eppley Airfield. I had been told that it was a quick 10 minute Uber ride to the hotel. It actually was quite quick. But …

As I’m sitting there, I’m taking it all in. I was surprised when I ended up seeing a “Welcome to Iowa” sign. Was my driver taking this foreigner on a long drive?

It actually was a pretty quick drive and there I was at the hotel. I guess somewhere along the line, we’d passed back into Nebraska and I had missed it. Once I caught up with my Nebraska and Iowa friends, I told them about my observation. It wasn’t news to them; apparently, the Missouri River over the years has moved!

All that came back as I read this story this morning…

Interactive map lets you track the location of your hometown as the Earth changes over 750 million years

It’s a wonderful read and explains what’s happening quite nicely. Of course, I had to check it out. The presentation was spectacular. If you’ve used Google Earth, you’ll find spinning and navigation quite easy.

I turned off the cloud layer and brightened it a bit in the settings and then turned the clock back 750 million years.

I guess the plates have indeed moved!

Like most things this interesting, I was down yet another map worm hole. Ever the educator, I couldn’t help but think how much more interesting this concept would have been if it had been available when I was in high school.

It doesn’t stop there, although if it did it could have saved me some time.

The application is tied to a number of databases.

This truly is a fabulous resource.

Make sure that you bookmark it.

4 thoughts on “Shifting over the years

  1. Good morning Doug!

    Accepted/confirmed knowledge evolves slowly over time, and the model of plate tectonicsIs one of the things that has become accepted/confirmed during our lifetimes. I remember first hearing about the idea during a grade 9 geography class. I’m pretty sure we didn’t have any current geography textbooks, other than the atlases we spent so much time in. I know that over the subsequent years I ran into the notion again, and then met J. Tuzo Wilson in the 80s when I was a student U of T and working at the Science Center. Tuzo Wilson was the Director General there, but still had an office at the McLennan Physics building where I encountered him once or twice.

    By the time I was teaching in the classroom and the curriculum and textbooks had been updated, the notion/model had turned into accepted and scientifically proven fact, such that it was laid out in detail for kids to learn.

    Things like the Internet, Google and a plethora of information technologies have come along in the subsequent years, but there have been very few advances in scientific knowledge that have such a similarly profound impact on our understanding of our world. I know they have posited/discovered/confirmed a few new quarks, and They finished mapping the human genome in 2003, but are there really that many “new” scientific facts/understandings that have come about over our adult lifetimes? It would be interesting to research and develop a list.


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  4. In Iceland you can drive from North America to Europe. The two plates meet there, although there is a gap between the two plates. I am not sure what is holding things up in the gap. I should have asked. In any case the gap changes over time. Very cool to see.


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