These Maps Show How North America Was Formed Over 550 Million Years

thumb blakey

Photo: Ron Blakey

If we were sitting where we are today 126,000 years ago, we would be covered in ice.70-five million years ago, we would be under water.

And 260 million years ago, we would be taking weekend trips to West Africa.

Dr. Ron Blakey, Professor Emeritus of Geology at Northern Arizona University, recently published maps showing the step-by-step evolution of the tectonic plates comprising North America, from the Precambrian-era 550 million years ago to the present. 

(Note: the effect of flipping through these is particularly intense if you play music from Stanley Kubrick films in the background.)

Late Precambrian, 550 million years ago

Middle Cambrian, 510 million years ago

Late Cambrian, 500 million years ago

Early Ordovician, 480 million years ago

Middle Ordovician, 470 million years ago

Late Ordovician, 450 million years ago

Early Silurian, 430 million years ago

Late Silurian, 420 million years ago

Early Devonian, 400 million years ago

Middle Devonian, 385 million years ago

Late Devonian, 360 million years ago

Early Mississippian, 345 million years ago

Late Mississippian, 325 million years ago

Early Pennsylvanian, 315 million years ago

Late Pennsylvanian, 300 million years ago

Early Permian, 290 million years ago

Middle Permian, 275 million years ago

Late Permian, 260 million years ago

Early Triassic, 245 million years ago

Middle Triassic, 230 million years ago

Late Triassic, 210 million years ago

Early Jurassic, 195 million years ago

Early Jurassic, 180 million years ago

Middle Jurassic, 170 million years ago

Late Jurassic, 150 million years ago

Early Cretaceous, 140 million years ago

Early Cretaceous, 130 million years ago

Early Cretaceous, 115 million years ago

Late Cretaceous, 100 million years ago

Late Cretaceous, 85 million years ago

Late Cretaceous, 75 million years ago

Cretaceous-Tertiary, 65 million years ago

Paleogene Paleocene, 60 million years ago

Paleogene Eocene, 50 million years ago

Paleogene Eocene, 40 million years ago

Paleogene Oligocene, 25 million years ago

Neogene Miocene, 15 million years ago

Neogene Miocene, 8 million years ago

Neogene Pliocene, 3 million years ago

Quaternary Glacial, 126,000 years ago

Present

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