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Earliest Jurassic (Sinemurian, 200 million years ago)


Spin and Rotate the Virtual Globe

(to spin globe, hold mouse-button down and drag mouse up or down across globe)

(c) PALEOMAP Project, 2003

(Read the explanation below, while you wait for the animation to load.)

You can interactively manipulate and rotate this paleo-globe, and view the Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole, and from the eastern edge of Asia to the western edge of North America.  To interactively grab and rotate the globe, hold down mouse-button and drag mouse up and down across the globe. 

This globe shows the supercontinent, Pangea, just before it began to break apart.   At this time sea level was about the same as today and the land areas were mostly emergent.  The modern political boundaries have been plotted on Pangea so that you can identify the continents.  Notice how tightly North America, Africa, and South America fit together.  Though more difficult to make out, you should also be able to see the outlines of India, Madagascar, Australia and Antarctica - without ice.

The colors represent the depth of the ocean (dark blue - deep oceans, light blue - very shallow seas). The color of the land areas represents elevation (green - lowlands, browns - highlands, and white - high mountains).  The large dark blue areas adjacent to some of the continents represents ocean floor that has been subducted.  The width of these areas illustrates how fast subduction is recycling material back into the Earth.  This 3D topographic and bathymetric model is based primarily on the digital elevation information from Smith and Sandwell (1997), with additional digital elevation information for the Arctic Ocean from  Jakobsson et al. (2000), for Greenland without ice from Bamber et al. (2000), and for Antarctica without ice from the British Antarctic Survey (BEDMAP).

 Some interesting places to check out:   the wide Tethys ocean separating the northern and southern continents,  the exotic terranes (Wrangellia and Stikine) off the west coast of North America that will collide to form the Canadian Rockies, the location of Italy and Greece adjacent to the northern margin of Africa.  There was no ice cap at the poles.

A screen-sized version of this VR Globe is available on CD-ROM in both Quicktime and html (Java applet) format.   For more information see Teaching Materials.

Images and animations of PALEOMAP Paleoglobes can be licensed for use in textbooks, museum exhibits, and educational CD-ROMs. 

This page uses a java applet that displays a VR model. Visit FreedomVR at for more information about this applet.

(c) PALEOMAP Project, 2003. Thanks to WebDoGS by Paul Howell for inspiration.