Activities

Drifting Continents

Name: _________________________________       Date: _____________

The continents riding on Earth's tectonic plates once formed one giant, supercontinent. Over millions of years, they slowly drifted to their current positions. In this Planet Diary activity, you'll rewind time to see where they came from. Then, you'll fast-forward to see where they might be headed.

  1. Check out these USGS color-coded continents. The colors of the continents make it easier to track movements over millions of years. Scroll to Earth Today and 30 Million Years Ago (MYA) maps and compare. Use the information to complete the first row of the table below. Use the maps of the other time periods to finish filling it in.
    Time in Past How Did Continents Move?
    30 mya to present
    90 mya to 30 mya
    120 mya to 90 mya
    150 mya to 120 mya
  2. What will the planet look like millions of years from now? Scientists use the direction tectonic plates are moving now to make predictions. Check out this view 50 million years in the future. Use the information to complete the first row of the table below. Then fast forward 150 million years and 250 million years into the future to complete the table.
    Time in Future Position of Continents
    50 million years
    150 million years
    250 million years