Changing World Geography

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Millions of years from now, Los Angeles will be close to Alaska.

Our world is moving constantly, spinning at a rate of 1,000 miles per hour. We are whirling around the sun at 20 miles per second. We, and our whole galaxy, are racing through space at more than a million miles an hour. The surface of our world is moving and changing, too. How has the face of the earth changed over time? Look at some of these extraordinary facts.

  • Fact: 200 million years ago most of the earth's land was one huge continent named Pangaea, meaning “all lands.” All the seas were one huge ocean called Panthalassa, meaning “all seas.”
  • Fact: Millions of years ago, the place that is now New York City was on the equator.
  • Fact: Millions of years ago Antarctica was a rain forest.
  • Fact: Millions of years ago India broke away from Africa, slammed into Eurasia, and rumpled up the Himalaya Mountains.
  • Fact: The Atlantic Ocean grows wider by an inch a year while the Pacific Ocean shrinks.
  • Fact: The coastline of the Atlantic Ocean sinks about four inches every 100 years.
  • Fact: France is slowly tilting northward, rising in the southern part, and sinking along the channel coast.
  • Fact: Africa is slowly tearing itself apart in a place called the Rift Valley, between Zaire and East Africa.
  • Fact: The Andes Mountains of South America are growing higher.
  • Fact: A new island, called Surtsey, was born in 1963. It is a volcanic island off the coast of Iceland.
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