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Late Cretaceous World
80 Million Years Ago (Campanian)
(to run animation, drag mouse across image)
This animation shows what the world of the Late Cretaceous might have looked like. The colors represent different elevations: dark blue = deep ocean, light blue = shallow seas, green = wet lowlands, light tan = uplands or deserts, brown = high mountains. (Be patient, it may take a few minutes for the animation to download to your computer.)
Notice that mid-continent region of North America is flooded by the sea. A northern seaway has flooded in from the Arctic Ocean and a southern seaway, flooding north from the Gulf of Mexico, has nearly joined it. Greenland is still joined to North America, though a set of parallel, raised "welts" - a rift valley, much like the East African Rift - indicates that Greenland will soon break away.
Also note that the South Atlantic ocean is much narrower, and that Brazil and west Africa are joined by a tenuous land bridge. India is still attached to Madagascar. Africa, like much of Europe and North America was flooded by the sea. Sea level at this time was 100 - 200 meters above present-day levels.
A complete set of 3D worlds is in production. If you have a particular time interval you would like us to visualize in this fashion, send us a email at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your suggestion.
This animation was made using the 3D modeling program, Amorphium, produced by PLAY.
These plate tectonic and paleogeographic reconstructions are
based on the research of the PALEOMAP Project.
This page uses a java applet that displays a VR model. Visit FreedomVR at www.honeylocust.com/vr/ for more information about this applet.
(c) PALEOMAP Project, 2002.