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Earth and Its Changing Appearance

26 Jan 2016, 00:11 UTC
Earth and Its Changing Appearance
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Watch Planet Earth Evolve Over Time
Earth’s continents as they appeared 750 million years ago. Courtesy The Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo, NASA, Ron Blakey /Colorado Plateau Geosystems, Inc./The PaleoMap Project. Click to embiggen.
We talk a lot about climate change these days. It’s clear that human activity has played a role, but our planet also changes naturally on very long time scales. With that in mind, it’s always worth looking at how our planet looked in the past.
What Did Earth Look like Hundreds of Millions of Years Ago?
I found a great site that has videos and image collections that help you understand the large-scale surface changes Earth has experienced in its past. The site is called the Visible Paleo Earth and you can explore it at the Planetary Habitability Lab. It’s a creation of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo. They have created a bunch of different visualizations that also link our planet and its features to other exoplanets.
For example, here’s a set of images showing what Earth looked like nearly three-quarters of a billion years ago, about the time complex life forms were starting to migrate across the planet. The continents began as ...

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