Appwatch: Ancient Earth

Appwatch: Ancient Earth
Geography geeks, this is your holy grail, Photo Credit: Unsplash

Did your hometown exist on dry land during the Jurassic? Or did it hobnob with corals in a super ocean? Time you found out

Nayanika Mukherjee
October 10 , 2020
01 Min Read

Years ago, we chanced upon a theoretical clock that described how long Homo sapiens had walked the Earth, if all of creation was fit into 24 hours. Right from its formation in the Big Bang, to the evolution of single-celled algae, plants, and eventually the dinosaurs—mankind, it seemed, had been around for just over a minute. It’s impossible for our brains to ever grasp this passage of time, and the changes it wrought upon the landscape. A platform called Ancient Earth, however, offers a well-researched push in that direction.  

Quite simply, Ancient Earth is an interactive globe that charts out the movement of tectonic plates, the sea floor, and thus, all our continents, up to the last 750 million years. With a minimalist interface, you can choose from a dropdown menu of 25 time periods for a recreation of our planet’s terrain. The most enjoyable part, of course, is typing in the name of your hometown and seeing how it’s shifted around over the years. Was it underwater and eventually pushed up by a fold mountain? Did it ring a volcano? Was it in a different hemisphere, or flanked by a glacier? We don’t know about you, but it’s coolest edutainment site we’ve seen in a while. The fact that it’s fully based on scientific data gives solid footing to our fantasies. Apart from scrolling in for detail, you can jump to critical moments in our geographic history (think ‘first coral reefs’, ‘Pannotia supercontinent’, ‘dinosaur extinction’.). Each timestamp is accompanied by a small note on the bottom left, about life in that era. 

Reference image for Kolkata through across different geological eras

Ancient Earth is the brainchild of Ian Webster, a computer scientist and former Google engineer who used plate-tectonic visualisation software while rendering the 3D globe. To discover your past, visit the official website, or get the iOS app.

Related Articles

5 Travel Tools and Apps...

Vishnu Mohan August 05 , 2020

We’re All Ears

Roshni Subramanian May 25 , 2020

Caption Captain

Roshni Subramanian May 05 , 2020

Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe