MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Subject: A question on continental drift in the distant past...

Date: Thu Aug 26 02:45:35 1999
Posted by Justin McKennon
Grade level: undergrad School: Porterville Community College
City: Porterville State/Province: California Country: United States
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 935649935.Es

Every reference to the theories of continental drift I have seen only shows
the movement of Earth's continents over the last 250 million years or so 
(since the time of Pangaea during the Permian/Triassic), and two 
maps of 370 and 550 million years ago. There seems to me that there is no 
other data regarding pre-Cambrian continental motion. Has any effort been 
made to extrapolate the approximate locations and movements of the 
continents during the Archean era, say, up to one billion years ago? Is
there too much uncertainty and not enough evidence for a reasonable 
estimate to be made, or is there simply no interest in plate tectonics 
prior to the Paleozoic?
In addition, is there uncertainty about the predictions of continental 
drift in the future, or has the course of plate tectonics over the next 250 
to 300 million years been calculated with confidence in the accuracy? 
(Beyond that, there is little reason to know - within 250 million years, 
the sun will begin to destroy life on Earth, culminating in the boiling 
away of our oceans and extinction of all life on Earth within one billion 
years from now.)

Re: A question on continental drift in the distant past...

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