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Researchers Complete New Gondwana Map

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the old-directions dept.

Earth 116

An anonymous reader writes "A new computer simulated map has revealed the past position of the Australian, Antarctic and Indian tectonic plates, demonstrating how they formed the supercontinent Gondwana 165 million years ago. 'It was a simple technique, matching the geological boundaries on each plate. The geological units formed before the continents broke apart, so we used their position to put this ancient jigsaw puzzle back together again,' said Lloyd White of Royal Holloway University in a press release. 'We found that many existing studies had positioned the plates in the wrong place because the geological units did not align on each plate.'"

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116 comments

Earth (-1, Troll)

Corona Extra (2975551) | about 9 months ago | (#44211993)

The God created Earth 5000 years ago. There is no evidence of Gondwana plate or even Earth 165 million years ago.

Re:Earth (-1, Offtopic)

waddgodd (34934) | about 9 months ago | (#44212035)

I'm going with Poe here. Why wouldn't have god made the earth like a jigsaw puzzle? It's the most efficient method for making up seemingly-random shapes that cover a surface. As for the 5000 years versus 165 million years, just because you can't count doesn't mean god can't: he's omnipotent, you're not, get over it.

Re:Earth (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 9 months ago | (#44212077)

For God, a thousand years are like a day. But a year has 365 days (ignoring leap days for simplicity), so 5000 years have about 9 million days. With every day counting as 1000 years, we arrive at an age of the world of about 9 billion years. This is clearly longer than 165 million years, so everything is fine.

Re:Earth (0)

Shavano (2541114) | about 9 months ago | (#44212221)

So for God, errors of 364,000 parts in 365,000 are OK? You'd think with all that omniscience, he could get a detail right once in a while.

Re:Earth (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 9 months ago | (#44213891)

The devil is in the details, therefore God does not support the details, because that would mean to support the devil.

Re:Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44214275)

Pfft, details. Details are for graphics designers, not artists.
True art shines in all its beauties and flaws.

Check out my marvellous artwork right here: -+/*
I call it Mathematical Wrongness. Simple, beautiful, and would probably actually genuinely get me several grand at some pretentious art meet-up.
I mean, if people can get money for vomiting paint on a canvas, surely I can get some for making myself cry paint out my eyes to form mathematical symbols?
Where is that milk-crying magician when you need him...

Re:Earth (0)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 9 months ago | (#44214359)

Didn't he start with light?
The error is smaller if you consider that he started with creating the universe.

That he took so long is also a sign of incompetence. The Great Spaghetti Monster does it millions of times per second!

Re:Earth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213645)

For God, a thousand years are like a day.

A thousand years?!?? I wanna cause mass extinctions right now!

- Ed Gruberman

Re: Earth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213973)

Boot to the head

Re:Earth (1)

Ottibus (753944) | about 9 months ago | (#44214497)

For God, a thousand years are like a day.

And a thousand years is like a day, so perhaps there is something more to this than a strict conversion factor?

Re:Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212079)

1 god day is like a year man, so thats like alot of years ago

Re:Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212121)

God also doesn't want you using the internet on Sunday.

Re:Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213743)

I don't care about the internets, why the fuck can't I have my Chik-Fil-A on Sunday when I'm hung over from drinking religiously on Saturday?

Re:Earth (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212129)

The God created Earth 5000 years ago. There is no evidence of Gondwana plate or even Earth 165 million years ago.

Tectonic plate theory, geophysics, botany and a host of other branches of science respectfully disagrees with you.

Re:Earth (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 9 months ago | (#44212201)

The God created Earth 5000 years ago. There is no evidence of Gondwana plate or even Earth 165 million years ago.

Tectonic plate theory, geophysics, botany and a host of other branches of science respectfully disagrees with you.

Even creationists say he's off by a thousand years...

Re:Earth (1)

olau (314197) | about 9 months ago | (#44215485)

Even creationists say he's off by a thousand years...

He's not a 1000 years off, he's living in the middle ages.

Re:Earth (0)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 9 months ago | (#44212181)

and the reason Satan was kicked out was him screwing with the timer. Because of this, the dinosaurs and everyone had plenty of time to grow old and die, create fossils and such just to screw with our minds. There is no missing link, never was, never will be. It's just Satan screwing with our minds - For Trekies it's like "Q" playing with Picard.

Re:Earth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44214901)

...or you playing with yourself.

Re:Earth (2)

turkeyfish (950384) | about 9 months ago | (#44212429)

None, of course paleo-dating from fossils in marine muds and radioactive dating of the series of banded sediments on the seafloor as a result of seafloor spreading in a very regular, almost linear mapping away from spreading zones that just happen to agree with each other almost perfectly.

Re:Earth (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213093)

God couldn't have created Earth 5000 years ago since man didn't create God until 2000 years ago.

Re:Earth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213681)

When I wake up in the morning and see the beautiful sunrise, and hear the birds chirping, I know in my heart that Trayvon is still dead, and all is good. Trayvon was dead yesterday; he remains dead today; tomorrow Trayvon will still be dead. To be among the living, in a world without Trayvon, there is much to be thankful for. Thank you George Zimmerman for making the world a safer, cleaner, happier place.

Re:Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213753)

Good story bro.

Re:Earth (2, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 9 months ago | (#44213837)

I'll freely admit that I believe in the unpopular-around-here Genesis account of a literal seven-day creation event, but nowhere in the Bible does it say something along the lines of, "And God created the continents, seven in total. Seven continents did God create, and He saw that they were good." If anything, you could probably make an argument that since the Genesis creation account only mentions one "land", that it may have been meaning a super-continent. Besides which, the Bible makes no claims that would contradict the idea of a super-continent existing prior to the Noahic Flood, and the Noahic Flood would also provide Christians with a reason for why the continents might have split, given that the Bible talks about "the springs of the great deep burst forth" and things of that sort in Genesis 7, indicating that there may have been some significant tectonic events occurring at the time of the flood.

Long story short, there may be difficulties reconciling the 165 million year age with the Genesis creation account, but there aren't any difficulties in reconciling the idea of a super-continent with the Bible.

Re: Earth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44214039)

There's "unpopular" and there's flat wrong. When you cling to discredited ideas, you choose your Bible over your God, and you place human interpretations of (stolen from the Babylonians!) myths over reality. You blaspheme, in other words. Enjoy your hellfire, you dumb fundie fuck.

Re: Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44215255)

I bet your mother is ashamed of you.

Re:Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44215285)

It's ironic that your mind is so frail given the mental gymnastics it goes through to justify your belief in the bible.

Re:Earth (1)

azav (469988) | about 9 months ago | (#44215653)

Learning: you're doing it wrong.

Besides that one passage in that one book, there is nothing we have discovered that supports this claim. Nothing.

And you believe in it.

Learning: you're doing it wrong.

still connected? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212033)

Aren't all the continents still connected? The only thing that has changed is where the low points are that are filled in with water.

Re:still connected? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212233)

It's like the priest and the altar boy: they're touching but they're still separate entities.

Google maps? (5, Funny)

drwho (4190) | about 9 months ago | (#44212045)

When is google maps going to have this? I want to trace where my house was back then.

Re:Google maps? (5, Funny)

Extremus (1043274) | about 9 months ago | (#44212075)

Sir, you have a really old house.

Re:Google maps? (5, Funny)

terrab0t (559047) | about 9 months ago | (#44213137)

It's not so surprising when you look at his username.

That also explains how he grabbed such a low user ID number.

Re:Google maps? (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 9 months ago | (#44213361)

Sir, you have a really old house.

According to property records the house was originally owned by a F. Flintstone back when the community was known as Bedrock.

Re:Google maps? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212089)

Man, you have an old house

Re:Google maps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212131)

Your House was actually in orbit over the Earth.

Which is fortunate for you, because you had meteor insurance.

Re:Google maps? (1)

snakeplissken (559127) | about 9 months ago | (#44212435)

When is google maps going to have this? I want to trace where my house was back then.

actually this raises an interesting question, if the landmasses are moving - which they are; then there is no actual absolute frame of reference for position on the earths surface over time, we can make informed guesses as to speed of land movement and extrapolate backwards temporally, but there is no actual 'unmoving' part of the earth (that i am aware of). the greenwich meridian is of course moving, perhaps our gps and similar satellites will provide a closer aproximation to absolute position but i don't know enough about their workings, particularly over the long run, to say

snake

Re:Google maps? (1)

colfer (619105) | about 9 months ago | (#44212535)

Much of the science is based on magnetic orientation in rocks and pole flipping at known times in the past. For the rest, just work back from the present plates.

Re:Google maps? (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | about 9 months ago | (#44213339)

/facepalm

I read this as Much of the science is based on magic orientation in rocks and thought you were being sarcastic or had an imaginary friend telling you the earth was only about 6,000 years old.

Re:Google maps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213059)

Perhaps volcanic hot stops could work similarly to type Ia supernovas..[Details to be filled by a geoologist]

Re:Google maps? (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#44213001)

When is google maps going to have this? I want to trace where my house was back then.

Google???

I would have been happy just to have the Summary link to the actual map instead of something several clicks removed.

The actual story is HERE [sciencedaily.com]
and a video of the breakup is here [vimeo.com]

Why do posters link to things that are simply Click-Frauds for some advertiser campaign? And why do editors let them?

Re:Google maps? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44214187)

Why do posters link to things that are simply Click-Frauds for some advertiser campaign?

You've answered your own question there.

And why do editors let them?

Editors?

Re:Google maps? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44214415)

Actually, there are some add-on KMZ files that allow you to animate plate positions and paleogeography [google.com], but they're fairly simple.

If you want more technical, you can run GPlates [gplates.org], a fantastic, cross-platform (Windows, OS X, Linux) open-source program for modeling plate motions. Unfortunately the learning curve is pretty steep, but if you follow the tutorials you can do some very cool animations. You can even load GIS files and your own plate rotation poles if you're into that sort of thing and are willing to configure the files correctly. For example, GPlates comes with a fairly current set of plate rotations, but you could input the poles from this recent paper to see how they compare to previous ones. These days most plate reconstruction is done with specialized GIS programs like this.

Gondwana had the coffee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212083)

If you lived in the other supercontinent and had to crank out some code, you'd be out of luck.

Re:Gondwana had the coffee (1)

BluBrick (1924) | about 9 months ago | (#44213779)

If you lived in the other supercontinent and had to crank out some code, you'd be out of luck.

Not really. The Laurasians simply outsourced all their code-cutting to Gondwana - part of which would later become known as...

(Finishing that sentence is left as an exercise for the reader)

Name change (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#44212099)

When did they change it from Gondwanaland to Gondwana? Was no-one looking after the sign [wikipedia.org]?

Re:Name change (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 9 months ago | (#44212471)

Never heard of "Gondwana", kind of sounds like a bad joke. I thought the proto-continent was called "Pangea". Or is that everything, including the Americas and the kitchen sink?

Re:Name change (1)

Drumhellar (1656065) | about 9 months ago | (#44212537)

Pangea was the most recent one (Gondwana was a major piece of it, I think), and the one we know the most about. Super continents form and break apart on a roughly 250 - 300 million year cycle or so. I think Pangea was the fifth one?

Map? (4, Insightful)

Mystakaphoros (2664209) | about 9 months ago | (#44212103)

Neat article! But... um... where's the map?

Original Press Release (5, Informative)

pavon (30274) | about 9 months ago | (#44212141)

Skip the regergitated article and go strait to the press release [rhul.ac.uk] to see the map, and a video (and a link to the paper if you have access or are willing to pay $30).

Re:Original Press Release (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 9 months ago | (#44214839)

Thanks, but where is the legend that says what pretty colored shape became what continent today?

Re:Map? (2)

Hadlock (143607) | about 9 months ago | (#44212941)

What? A crayon drawing of a dinosaur isn't enough for you? What, did you actually expect a picture of the map in the article they linked to you? Who do you think the editorial staff around here is? Jeeze.

Re:Map? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213073)

fuck the map. i want to see a sketch of a dinosaur.

yes!!!1

Video of Australia, Antarctica, India Breakup (5, Informative)

Omegaman (703) | about 9 months ago | (#44212149)

In searching for the actual new map of Gondwana, the researchers in the article have this video of three continents separating.
http://vimeo.com/68311221 [vimeo.com]

Yeah. The article is lame. (1)

msauve (701917) | about 9 months ago | (#44212283)

I was gonna say "pics, or it didn't happen." Video works, thanks.

Not only the article is lame. (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212405)

The reconstruction has India moving West away from Australia with the Indo-Pacific archipelago presumably part of Laurasia in a relatively static position as Australia eventually moves northward. Most authors seem to have India moving east upon breakup with Africa and then colliding with southern Asia. Africa presumably splits from South America by moving east relative to South America, so the eastward rather than westward movement of India seems to be correct.

Obviously, a lot is missing from this reconstruction most notably the position of continental margins peripheral to the map projection. The relative timing of the events from an Australian-Antarctic perspectives seems to be correct but the positioning seems centric to the limited projection used and holding Australia in fixed position is probably the culprit here since positions in the central Indian Ocean are not indicated.

Re:Not only the article is lame. (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 9 months ago | (#44213483)

Antarctica's the continent used as the frame of reference in the video, not Australia. Also, it looks to me like India's moving north, not west.

Re:Not only the article is lame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213661)

India first takes off like a shot in a north-kind-of-westerly straight line off-screen and then somehow joins Asia to become perfectly joined to the main landmass (which isn't actually shown), while Australia later breaks off and drifts northeast to float on its own. Meanwhile, Antarctica hardly shudders at the loss of two-thirds of its mass in two separate, apocalyptic, continental breaks.

Re:Video of Australia, Antarctica, India Breakup (4, Funny)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about 9 months ago | (#44213565)

Man, India moves fast. I hope it's looking where it's going or it could hit something. That would mush up a continent pretty bad.

The point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212261)

If the article is about a new map wouldn't it be a good idea to actually show the new map?

Re:The point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212663)

Anyone with an actual brain be would be inclined to think so. The Discovery article links to a Science Daily article (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130705101538.htm) that still doesn't have the full image, but at least has a link to the video (http://vimeo.com/68311221).

Stupid Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212291)

Interesting article - but there's no map. Seems kind of pointless.

Baltica, Amazonia and the samba connection (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 9 months ago | (#44212349)

In another paper I saw that Norway+Sweden was next to Colombia and Finland next to Venezuela:
http://www.deepdyve.com/lp/elsevier/baltica-amazonia-and-the-samba-connection-1000-million-years-of-6ICpDpEcbF [deepdyve.com]

The "baltica-amazonia-and-the-samba-connection" :)

This was apparently long _before_ the Gondwana.

There is more to the Earths history than many want to understand.

Re:Baltica, Amazonia and the samba connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213709)

This would explain why half the world's supply of cocaine is seemingly to be found in Stockholm nightclubs.

The map in the link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44212487)

Looks like a scene with trees, a dinosaur (or some other saur or something) and some pterosaurs in the sky. i doubt thats a legit map of gondwona

This is what we call 'modern science' (-1, Troll)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 9 months ago | (#44212781)

Step 1: Formulate a premise based on a widely accepted existing theory
Step 2: Write a piece of software which runs a simulation supporting that premise
Step 3: Receive accolades from mainstream science for your groundbreaking work

This isn't science, it's just plain silly. Spending time refining an existing concept about how the continents were arranged prior to human life existing .. relevance anyone? No wonder we're still traversing the surface of the earth using combustion and generating electricity by destroying our planetary resources, all of the 'scientists' are busy wasting the planet's resources staring at a pile of bearshit in the woods.

It's the woods .. bears live in it .. they eat, they shit.

Re:This is what we call 'modern science' (0)

gtall (79522) | about 9 months ago | (#44212831)

Ah, the hive mentality, you must be from Agile Programming. Pick a major problem, get all the scientists on Earth to work on it. Bingo, problem solved. Hey, you should tell the scientists they are doing it all wrong, I'm sure they'd listen to you.

Re:This is what we call 'modern science' (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 9 months ago | (#44212897)

Hey, you should tell the scientists they are doing it all wrong, I'm sure they'd listen to you.

The ones in cancer research are...

Re:This is what we call 'modern science' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44213145)

"The ones in cancer research are..."

...which is why Hodgkin's lymphoma has gone from a death sentence 30 years ago to the latest treatment saving 98% of the patients.

Re:This is what we call 'modern science' (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 9 months ago | (#44213745)

More than 30 years. I dated a Hodgkin's survivor in 1980-81, and she'd been in remission for about 5 years at that point.

New Zealand (1)

waynemcdougall (631415) | about 9 months ago | (#44213441)

And New Zealand just pops into existence at the end like some just anchored a boat and fished it up out of the sea

Re:New Zealand (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 9 months ago | (#44214189)

Not sure if anyone on slashdot would get the reference to the Legend of Maui fishing up The North Island (his canoe is the South Island)

But anyway I have seen a documentar (on either H2 or the Science channel)y that said that the islands of NZ are just the visible part of a sunken coninent called Zealandia, which explained how some of the unique native fauna like tuatara got there.

I expected better. (1)

azav (469988) | about 9 months ago | (#44215601)

Damn, that s a shitty article. Sourcing a poorly hand drawn illustration of a dinosaur that isn't even relevant to the discussion from Wikimedia commons?

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