Colliding Continents

Colliding Continents

2006, Science  -   11 Comments
Ratings: 7.85/10 from 53 users.

How will our planet look hundreds of millions of years from now? In Colliding Continents, a fast-paced and enlightening documentary from Naked Science, geologists and other experts look to our distant past in search of answers.

The structure of our planet - large masses of land cleanly separated by massive bodies of water - didn't happen overnight. The Earth beneath our feet positioned itself over the course of billions of years, and resulted from periods of mass construction and deconstruction. This natural evolution continues today.

"Change is part of nature," observes one of the film's interview subjects.

Indeed, the face of our planet has altered in appearance throughout its history. Mountains have crumbled, oceans have dissipated and our continents have toppled into each other to create the tapestry we know today. The landscape of the future will surely result from similarly intense forces.

In order to grasp where we're going, we must first examine where we've been. In South Africa, the filmmakers capture what is believed to be one of the Earth's oldest rock formations. The granite content of these land masses date back 3.5 billion years, and they provide essential clues as to how our earliest continents were born.

Meanwhile, paleontologists are able to discern the age of fossils across continents, and reasonably deduce where they might have originally existed in relation to one another. This gives us a perspective on how the continents might have shifted over time.

We can see these processes in action in Iceland. The North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are shifting, gradually pulling the continents further apart while the Atlantic Ocean widens between them.

These and many other scientific observations have set the groundwork for understanding the topography of our planet up to 250 million years from now. At that time, the Earth will likely be devoid of separate continents, but will instead consist of one giant land mass. Major cities will fall, temperatures will plummet and the world as we know it will be completely unrecognizable.

Colliding Continents is an ambitious and absorbing film that successfully constructs the both the history and future of our planet.

Directed by: Tom Stubberfield

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your mom
2 years ago

i have do to this for school work

Kelvin Kersey
3 years ago

Very interesting, but please get rid of the editing machine and allow an image to be on screen for more than half a second so that viewers have a chance to comprehend it and discover something meaningful in it

Dan Zacha
4 years ago

If you liked this one check out ( Voyage of the continents) a well made series of documentaries of tectonics and general geology. Good luck

5 years ago

A non-geologist's question at 25:16: "Because the earth has a constant surface area, the same amount of land created must be absorbed into the earth." - Why? Couldn't there be more or less square acreage of land floating on the mantle? Or does this refer to the total mass of rock whether or not it's above sea level, once it is spewed out of volcanoes?

5 years ago

Great documentary.

Leslie L
5 years ago

Interesting how this shows its age, not so much by the facts - still more or less accepted today - as by how they are presented. The talking heads are all white men, and the focus is on the USA. A little more than a decade later and we have far more experts who are women and people of color.

5 years ago

Interesting, but too much conjecture presented as fact. Just another "maybe" documentary

Jay Steff
5 years ago

What No global warming? So from this we see expectatition that HUMMERS and other SUV's do NOT cause global warming. In fact there are major temp changes MAN does not cause, rather the continents cause these changes.
So silly geese stop trying to get our money for natural changes that NO PERSONS or their machinations effect!
Grow up kids. Worry about your own issues, taxing mine will NOT make your life better.
Good thing I see both north America and Africa will mash your smug attittudes to NOTHINGNESS.