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Antarctica Once Abutted Death Valley

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the may-i-borrow-some-grey-poupon dept.

Earth 182

Science News has a story of strange bedfellows. It seems that Antarctica was once adjacent to what is now the American Southwest, some 800 million years ago. Earth's continents then formed a supercontinent called Rodinia, predating Pangaea by some 550 million years. "...the ratios of neodymium isotopes in the ancient sediments in the Transantarctic Mountains are the same as those in what was then Laurentia, says Goodge. Also, the hafnium isotope ratios in the 1.44-billion-year-old zircons found in East Antarctica match those of the zircons found in the distinctive granites now found primarily in North America. Finally, the researchers note, the ratios of various isotopes and elements in a basketball-sized chunk of granite found in East Antarctica — a chunk ripped by a glacier from bedrock now smothered by thick ice, the team speculates — match those of granite found only in what was southwestern Laurentia, which today is the American Southwest."

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but wait... (5, Funny)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176583)

... how do we know it was called Rodinia? Who left records?

Re:but wait... (2, Funny)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176599)

Pnakotic Manuscripts [wikipedia.org] , of course.

Re:but wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177553)

Didn't Professor Dyer tell them to stay away from those mountains?

Re:but wait... (4, Funny)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176601)

... how do we know it was called Rodinia? Who left records?

All those people that were here before Xenu blew them all up of course!

Re:but wait... (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177335)

They weren't people, they were Thetans and it's their fault that people can't quit smoking. Available at Waldenbooks.

Re:but wait... (5, Insightful)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176709)

Good point. My understanding about the theoretical pre-history of continents only went as far back as Gondwana, which dates back roughly 500 million years and is a very different map to the one in TFA, so I had a look at this [wikipedia.org] to refresh my memory and try to resolve conflicts. If TFA is true, then the continents really do shift pretty quickly and change direction a fair bit too, considering Australia started in the northern hemisphere according to TFA, went South to join Gondwana and is now heading North again.

But back to your point about how they knew what it was called, I have a related question. How do they know that Eastern Laurentia had crinkle cut coastlines like Canada? Weren't they formed by glacial activity? How does that happen at the equator?

Also, it wasn't clear to me from TFA whether the magnetic field lines conflict with this theory or support it. If they do conflict, how do we know that the distribution of isotopes isn't due to some other phenomenon?

Re:but wait... (2, Insightful)

thogard (43403) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176871)

I thought the current theory was that Gondwana the resulting scar of whatever hit the earth forming the moon such a very long time ago. How many generations super continents where there?

Re:but wait... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176965)

If this is true, there's at least two. The current Europe-Asia-Africa-India block is probably another. Especially if it's still together when the Pacific ocean goes away.

Re:but wait... (2, Informative)

Avtuunaaja (1249076) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177123)

No. Nothing on the surface remains from those days. There are literally billions of years between the formation of moon and the first continent we know anything of. Even if earth would have been inhabited by advanced (non-spacefaring) civilizations in the meantime, we wouldn't know. There is simply nothing that remains.

Re:but wait... (5, Insightful)

syntaxglitch (889367) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176877)

But back to your point about how they knew what it was called, I have a related question. How do they know that Eastern Laurentia had crinkle cut coastlines like Canada? Weren't they formed by glacial activity? How does that happen at the equator?

Most likely, they don't know that, or even think that it did. Continental drift maps are usually drawn by moving around the outlines of the modern continents for the most part, probably because that best communicates which parts went where, rather than amorphous blobs labeled things like "p.s. this is actually Canada".

My understanding would be that the actual outline of the old continents looked nothing like that and we have no way to figure out what they actually did look like.

Re:but wait... (5, Interesting)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177049)

I happened to catch part of a program on the History Channel this morning that was talking about Rodinia and how the coalition of the continents into a supercontinent disrupted ocean currents, allowing the poles to become colder, expanding the continuously-frozen area until the process ran away, completely covering the Earth in ice until the eruptions that accompanied the breakup of the supercontinent threw CO2 and methane into the air that couldn't be absorbed into the oceans (covered as they were by ice), building up to the point where the greenhouse effect melted a permanent ice-free zone, which (being darker than the ice) would absorb more heat, triggering a positive feedback. The program described this happening in a single freeze-and-thaw, although some 'snowball earth' theories suggest that there were several freezovers as the CO2/methane levels rose and fell until the Cambrian Explosion. It seemed to me, though, that the arguments for Rodinia and Snowball Earth can also be explained by other theories, and that drawing conclusions about conditions that far in the past based on evidence that can accumulate in different ways is going to remain somewhat speculative.

Re:but wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177121)

Yes.

Re:but wait... (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177329)

"My understanding would be that the actual outline of the old continents looked nothing like that and we have no way to figure out what they actually did look like."

Why so black and white? Just because we don't know every detail does not mean we have no way to figure out how the earths crust has changed over time. What you are missing is that to a large degree the continents sit in the middle of tectonic plates while the edges of the plates move over and under each other, coastline can change dramatically with the level of the oceans but this has nothing to do with the movement of plates or the location of the continent. Where continents do sit meet the edge of the plates you get mountain ranges. These together with ocean trenches mark the edges of ancient/modern collisions and seperations. Add evidence from fossils, the current motion of the plates, geological features, etc, and it gives you a resonable idea (ie: not a precise map) of what bits have moved where over time. The only thing that I know of where the gross features would be impossible to reconstruct are the land masses that have been subsumed back into the mantle, AFAIK this occurs mainly in deep ocean trenches and not in the middle of a continental land mass (eg: The bedrock in central Australia is ~4 billion years old, The Hawaian islands are an example of a long lived volcano in the middle of a plate).

BTW: Tropical glaciers still exist today but only at very high altitudes.

Re:but wait... (1, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177371)

amorphous blobs labeled things like "p.s. this is actually Canada"

Funny, I thought amorphous blobs referred to average Americans ;-)

Re:but wait... (2, Informative)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177579)

"Continental drift maps are usually drawn by moving around the outlines of the modern continents for the most part"

actually, no, what is primarily used is geological core examination, where they look at all the layers of rock, at the atomic decay of various isotopes, etc, etc, the idea came from someone looking at the continents, and saying it looks like Africa and south America fit together like a jigsaw piece. just the appearance alone, wasn't enough to 'scientifically' prove or date when areas were pieced together, but it did keep some scientist going, until they could prove that the continents were once pieced together..

oh hey, and if the continental plates move apart at a rate of 3 inches a year within 500 million years a single plate would travel the entire circumference of the earth.

Re:but wait... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177271)

After reading your post about TFA, I had to go back and re-read TFA to see if the movement of continents was as you said TFA described; and indeed, TFA confirms. Fuck.

Re:but wait... (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176763)

I bet it was just another one of those things that scientists 'made up'.

Re:but wait... (1)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177409)

Yeah, everyone knows that continents don't actually move. In reality, the earth is expanding [youtube.com] .

Re:war history (3, Funny)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176825)

Rodinia has always been at war with Laurentia.

Re:but wait... (1, Redundant)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176833)

"... how do we know it was called Rodinia? Who left records?"

Um... that's not a historical name left by some historical civilization. Most likely, it's a name that was invented by a discoverer or hypothesizer of the existance of such a landmass - people do that a lot, naming things for which no name may have previously existed.

Re:but wait... (1, Redundant)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177061)

yeah I know, it was a joke.

Re:but wait... (1)

Chris Burkhardt (613953) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177479)

There's a piece of ASCII art depicting a stick figure with something whooshing over its head waiting to be posted in reply to that.

Re:but wait... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176925)

Aw, that's easy. Search Google for Dropa Stones, Phaistos Disc, Bi disks [wikipedia.org] (linked for clarity), Arkalochori Axe, Anatolian hieroglyphs, Gobekli Tepe, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Pnakotic Manuscripts.

    If that doesn't get your head spinning with conspiracies, start thinking about how much was probably destroyed through action or negligence over the centuries. You also have to consider much of this was not found or understood until recently. What will we find about the past in the next 100 years? Well, assuming the conspiracies don't eat us in our sleep. :)

   

Re:but wait... (2, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176981)

hey, it was McCain's old stomping grounds.

Re:but wait... (3, Informative)

Ubitsa_teh_1337 (1006277) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177075)

Actually, Rodinia is *very* similar to Rodina, which is the Russian word for 'motherland'. Odd.

Re:but wait... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177403)

Yo momma so old she was born in Rodinia.

Re:but wait... (1)

joetheappleguy (865543) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177457)

It was really called JoeTheAppleGuyLand.

Although back then it was originally known as JoeTheZX81GuyLand.

Pluto was still a planet, by the way.

Re:but wait... (1)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177527)

You beat me to it, I always hate that when you see "it was called" whatever. No, it was named that by someone, big difference.

Hmmmm.... (1)

SIGBUS (8236) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176595)

Something makes me want to go and re-read H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176663)

Something makes me want to go and re-read H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness

Your mother in law?

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176817)

The 2008 US Presidential campaign?

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177029)

A sociopath, a communist and a moron? What's not to love!

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

hdparm (575302) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177095)

Can you be more precise, please?

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177277)

*gasp* You are admitting they're interchangeable! :-D

Man Google knows everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176605)

Must be dyslexia... Goodge

Re:Man Google knows everything (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176637)

did anyone else miss read that and think "When did Google start crawling archaeology?"

Re:Man Google knows everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176729)

Would anyone else not be in the least bit surprised if they did?

Re:Man Google knows everything (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176875)

A better questions is: You mean they don't? WTF, somebody call Mr Brin! This is a serious oversight. I've been hankerin' to trawl me through some archeology street views, I want to see those humans that lived with dinosaurs.

Re:Man Google knows everything (1)

Carlinya (622024) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177189)

I'll admit I did. And to the poster who said whether anyone would be surprised that Google did, nope, I wouldn't be.

Death Valley is a bitchin place (4, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176613)

Go spring or fall... crank up the Harley and pack some doob... bring a camera... stuff your ugly bitch in the seat behind you... and stay at Panamint Springs (the other places are run by contractors with federal NPS contracts).

There is NOBODY there. It's a space as big as Connecticut and you have it all to yourself and maybe a few dozen other people. After a few days you start to recognize them; you even start waving at each other when you pass. It's totally like Antarctica.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (5, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176657)

Fine. One of the reasons there's nobody there is because of all of the assholes on their Harleys :)

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176713)

Where, Antarctica or Death Valley?

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176747)

One of the reasons there's nobody there is because of all of the assholes on their Harleys :)

Taken literally or figuratively, the visuals are not appealing.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176831)

Fine. One of the reasons there's nobody there is because of all of the assholes on their Harleys :)

Harley owners usually aren't assholes. They mostly seem to be retired people, as the majority of people who can both afford to dump that much money on a motorbike and still think Harleys represent "cool" and "rebellion" are people who grew up when that was true. They're like Cadillacs and Corvettes. Sure on TV maybe the stars drive them, but 9 times out of 10 if you see a Caddy or Harley or Corvette on the road, the driver has gray hair or is completely bald.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (5, Insightful)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176887)

True, and I know lots of Harley riders, most of whom are very nice. However, anyone who rides an unmuffled motorcycle and is proud of its noise is, by definition, at least an inconsiderate jerk.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176959)

However, anyone who rides an unmuffled motorcycle and is proud of its noise is, by definition, at least an inconsiderate jerk.

The phrase is "loud pipes save lives." That's why they add speakers with artificial noise to electric and hydrogen powered bikes. A lot of bikers die when some idiot doesn't bother to look closely, doesn't see them, and switches lanes right into them. The noise alerts drivers and prevents accidents, many of which are fatal. Some bike owners overdo it in my opinion, but like most topics, this one has two sides and you seem uninformed about one of them.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177043)

The phrase is "loud pipes save lives."

No, loud pipes make bikers think they're invincible and have the right to run red lights. At least that's what the one who drove out in front of my car thought, and I still have the scuff marks on my front bumper to prove it...

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177071)

No, loud pipes make bikers think they're invincible and have the right to run red lights. At least that's what the one who drove out in front of my car thought, and I still have the scuff marks on my front bumper to prove it...

Please. You're trying to relate to random factors. You might as well claim that bikers with blue bikes (or whatever color) think they have the right to run red lights.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177569)

You might as well claim that bikers with blue bikes (or whatever color) think they have the right to run red lights.

Actually, yeah... I claim that, too.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (0, Flamebait)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177079)

Well, I wish they'd hurry up the organ donation process so the rest of us can live in peace and quiet.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177087)

Another phrase is "douchebags who made their bikes as loud as possible kept waking up our baby and drove us out of our house".

If my wife thought she could get away with it, her phrase would be "loud pipes will meet the piano wire I've strung across the street".

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177157)

Another phrase is "douchebags who made their bikes as loud as possible kept waking up our baby and drove us out of our house".

At speeds people should be driving in residential areas, even Harleys are pretty quiet (until they hit the compression of higher gears). There are jerks of all sorts who drive fast on residential streets or who blast their stereos, but the types of mufflers used on most bikes are both intentionally considerate of noise pollution at low speeds and loud for safety at high speeds. If auto drivers were vaguely competent or considerate it would probably not be an issue, sadly the bar for getting a driving license is way too low. As for people who place the lives of others as less important than if their kids wake up, well maybe they should have their kids taken away from them before they turn them into self centered monsters like themselves.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177289)

Just admit that bikers are lowlifes. You know it and I know it.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177337)

Revving your goddamn engine at a stop sign to make your dick sound bigger (0 mph) is, I concede, a safe speed for neighborhood driving. It still wakes up my kid, and any driver who can't see a stationary douchebag on a motorcycle isn't going to take noise into consideration.

Besides, if being noticed is a problem, why is the standard-issue biker uniform an oh-so-visible black?

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177593)

Normal pipes are loud enough. Bikes with sound and emissions control devices removed are simply inconsiderate. If you think that that is necessary to ride safely, perhaps you should consider... owning a small car instead. You'll even get better gas mileage.

Most bikers that die in accidents weren't wearing proper protective gear (i.e. helmets. and "skull caps" aren't helmets, at least, not from a safety standpoint.) There is very little correlation between muffler removal and accident avoidance.

This topic has two sides. You seem to have bought the kool-aid of the poorly-reasoned, egocentric one.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177259)

Posted Anonymously for good reason

Unlike most of my other posts;

It's said that if you can out run a Harley for a mile you have nothing to worry about.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177113)

Oh so thats where the name Rod-in-ya comes from!

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (2, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177145)

Q: What's the difference between a Hoover and a Harley?

A: The position of the dirtbag.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (2, Funny)

kclittle (625128) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176699)

It's totally like Antarctica.

Except it is a dry heat, ya'know.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (4, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176869)

That's why Death Valley is so hot. Antarctica got all the cold in the divorce settlement.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177407)

Just goes to show, she was a cold bitch all along.

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (4, Funny)

colourmyeyes (1028804) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176711)

... stuff your ugly bitch in the seat behind you...

Do I have to take the ugly one?

Re:Death Valley is a bitchin place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176753)

"stuff your ugly bitch in the seat behind you..."

Well, my dog is cute, not ugly, and I leave her at home, and bring my gorgeous wife with me on our BMW when we tour the SouthWest.

left no forwarding address (3, Funny)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176619)

Damned landmasses, moving around all the time.

Plate techtonics are breaking up that old neighborhood of mine.

Re:left no forwarding address (4, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176989)

Oh no, here he goes again, next we'll have to hear about those damned trilobites on his lawn.

Re:left no forwarding address (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177353)

Do you remember how he was when those mammals moved in down the street? Never heard so much moaning about how "those kinds" were moving into "our" neighborhood. I didn't even have the heart to tell him that everyone in my family had a spinal column...

Abutt? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176625)

I'm not familiar with this word, is it Canadian?

Re:Abutt? (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176675)

You're thinking of "aboot".

Re:Abutt? (1)

MikeUW (999162) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176727)

'A' boot? Actually, we Canadians usually wear those in pairs.

Re:Abutt? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176843)

Totally offtopic...

I once told a long lost acquaintance that "you have that 'o' thing goin' there, dontcha?"

She was 'orrified, guvna. Really 'orrified. She only thought that Newfies really had it.

She was from Haligonia.

--
BMO - goin' aboot in a boot.
 

I love it when a plan comes together (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176633)

Sure some of it was luck, but the cost of shipping a few rocks to antarctica was worth the risk that they wouldn't find and misinterpret them.

Gold Rush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176685)

Well that explains the oil, go figure.

Sell my holdings in California (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176687)

Looks my long term investements in CA are not worth what I thought they were going to be. Nobody wants beach front property when the temp is -10.

thats a lie (1)

hellfish006 (1000936) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176789)

We all know the earth is only 6,000 years old. You and your science, pfff.

Re:thats a lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177589)

Hey. SHUT the GOD DAMN HELL up

thx

Hmm? (1)

Mistah Bunny (1256566) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176801)

Okay, who else thought the guy's name was Google and did a double-take?

Re:Hmm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176955)

Okay, who else thought the guy's name was Google and did a double-take?

I'll second that.

Millions of years is a lie (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176809)

Millions of years is a theory - yes? Since there is no reason besides more theory and conjecture ensconed in decades of "scientific" consensus?

Re:Millions of years is a lie (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176889)

All science is theory. Just think about how science changed in the last 500 years, even the last 10 years. It used to be that atoms were considered the smallest particle, now we know that not to be true. Just about 99% of things in science have changed. Nothing is set in stone, write a law and within 200 years you will find some exception to that rule.

Re:Millions of years is a lie (2, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177037)

Just because you confuse "theory" (argument supported by facts) and "hypothesis" (educated guess) doesn't mean that other people are wrong and that people who do science are talking out their asses.

This is exactly like the retard^W Creationist argument that "I've never seen any animal evolve into another species" totally ignoring what is actually /meant/ by the accepted definition of "species" while the retard^W Creationist uses his own private definition of "species".

You argue without and against reason, and do not deserve reasonable argument back. To attempt to do so would be trying to drain your ocean of stupidity with a pipette.

--
BMO

Re:Millions of years is a lie (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177153)

You argue without and against reason, and do not deserve reasonable argument back. To attempt to do so would be trying to drain your ocean of stupidity with a pipette.

Well at least his ocean was created by a world flood. Just imagined if an omnipotent supernatural being flooded the planet with stupidity... The end product would be, the creationists of today. (See - if they re-translated genesis so that it was stupidity and not water, there would actually be some empirical evidence available to support such magical fable like that.)

Re:Millions of years is a lie (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177495)

"Just imagined if an omnipotent supernatural being flooded the planet with stupidity... "

There was never any need for an omnipotent supernatural being to do that.

Man creates enough stupidity on his own.

--
BMO

California deported a whole continent? (0, Troll)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176849)

I guess their opposition to immigration isn't a recent development.

what? (0, Redundant)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176859)

Now just how do they know what the local peoples called that previous super continent? Did they leave a written record?

Legal implications? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176897)

Does this mean that the United States has a historical claim to Antarctica?

Re:Legal implications? (1)

Count_Froggy (781541) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177125)

No, the penguins own southern California.

Re:Legal implications? (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177165)

But I don't believe that the United States would survive another war with the whales.. Think of what happened last time...

How many supercontinents were there? (2, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176913)

I was quite surprised when I learned several years ago that Pangea wasn't the only one. Could someone well-versed in geology fill us in here?

-jcr

Re:How many supercontinents were there? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24176997)

The oldest one proposed is called Columbia, existing from 1.8 - 1.5 bya.
The next widely accepted was Rodinia, existing from 1.3 bya - 800 mya
The next possible was Pannotia, but it didn't last long, only from 600 - 550 mya.
The last one was Pangaea, from 250 mya to 150 mya.

The earliest ones are deduced mainly from paleomagnetism, so there may have been earlier supercontinents that we do not know about due to a lack of rocks that old.

Re:How many supercontinents were there? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177195)

Thanks, that's very helpful. Last I heard, the age of the earth was estimated to be around 4.5 billion years, so that leaves a lot of time before Columbia. Does it make any sense to speak in terms of continents back then? When did the oceans start to form?

-jcr

Re:How many supercontinents were there? (3, Informative)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177305)

Wikipedia talks about Vaalbara, Ur and Kenorland predating Columbia, which was then followed by Rodinia, Pannotia, Pangaea, Laurasia and Gondwana.

This was all unknown to me until about ten minutes ago, but I'm pleased to see the Pilbara region of Australia (my country) is one of the oldest places on Earth, stretching back 3.6 billion years (the other's in South Africa).

I guess that if you can date the geology, you can talk about the continents, but their shape must be a bit of a mystery.

Re:How many supercontinents were there? (0)

jmauro (32523) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177225)

There's one about every 500 million years. We're due for the next one in about 250 million years from now. Why they keep breaking up and reforming though is anyone's guess.

"called Rodinia" (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176941)

I don't think enybody ever called it "Rodinia" more likley ounga bounga

It was "named Rodinia"

G

explains a lot. (4, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#24176983)

So... that's how Hell froze over?

Maybe the Cubs won the World Series that year...

brother deserts (2, Interesting)

rubah (1197475) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177115)

I thought I read once that Antarctica was considered a desert because its precipitation levels were so low. (the snow doesn't melt, therefore it doesn't go through the water cycle and precipitate!) Or maybe that was the Arctic. Or Siberia. Hmm.

Either way, I'm not too surprised!

Another discovery about Rodinia (1)

caywen (942955) | more than 6 years ago | (#24177143)

Scientists also discovered that the world, for one, welcomed their new Rodinia overlords.

Yeah, So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24177231)

Yes, the continents drift.. this isn't that surprising that at one they were in that configuration. Certainly not enough to warrant a Slashdot front page.

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