As I’ve mentioned on occasion, I read a lot of science fiction. Like many people, I’m particularly intrigued by the concept of time travel. I’ve often thought that I would like to go back in time to see some of the major events that occurred, like the Zanclean flood that is theorized to have refilled the Mediterranean Sea 5.33 million years ago. Starting with a trickle, the sea level rise in the Mediterranean basin may have reached rates of greater than 33 feet (10 meters) a day!
How about watching the massive asteroid or comet about 11 to 81 kilometers (6.8 to 50.3 miles) in diameter that impacted the Earth slightly more than 66 million years ago forming the Chicxulub crater and causing the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event that took out all the non-avian dinosaurs? In this latter case, of course, I’m assuming we also have something like a forcefield to protect us, or maybe we are observing the action from the safety of our spaceship (hey, if we’re imagining a time machine, let’s go big).
I’d also love to spend a few weeks seeing different parts of Pangaea, which was a supercontinent that formed from a gathering of all the other continents about 335 million years ago and then started to break up again about 175 million years ago.
Of course, we would have to be careful of the butterfly effect with regard to changing the past, as depicted in A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury.
The reason I’m waffling on about this here is that my chum Jay Dowling just pointed me at an interesting column, Interactive Map Shows You What Your Hometown Looked Like Millions of Years Ago, on the IFL Science website.
In turn, this article takes you to this interactive map, which allows you to select the time in which you are interested (I picked 300 million years ago) and also to pick a town (I opted for Sheffield, England).
On the one hand, this is really, really interesting. I’m going to spend some time watching Sheffield’s travels as the continents meandered their way around the globe. On the other hand, I’m left wanting more — I want to be able to see the terrain and flora and fauna “close up and personal.” Ah well, I suppose I’ll have to return to working on my time machine…