1.4.10

Warming Up: The Big Picture

[These little blue flowers bloom in my front yard every spring.]


Here in the Twin Cities we're used to changing weather. Thanks to being in the middle of a large continent, we have some of the largest temperature extremes of any major city in the world.

After so many long winter months, hitting the mid 70's on April Fool's Day is the best feeling in the world. The sunshine hitting the skin on your arm. The warm breeze. No longer feeling like you have to retreat from the out-of-doors. It all adds up to the kind of high usually reserved for sherpas or space tourists.

But, just to keep things in perspective, it's worth remembering that Minnesota was not always this way. As a TA for a Bio-geography course at the University of Minnesota, I teach and learn about place tectonics, soil formation, and geology. And if you look at the big picture, 70 degrees in March is nothing to write home about. As recently as 240 Million Years Ago, Minnesota was very close to the equator, and had a hot, humid environment filled with rainforests.



[The location of the Twin Cities has moved during the past half-billion years, from the South Pacific to near the Andes to its present location in the North.]


For example, did you know that Minnesota used to be in the Southern Hemisphere? Don't get too excited about this recent spring warmup. Just wait a few hundred million years, and we'll really have something to talk about in the office elevator.*



[The location of Minnesota in relation to the Equator over the last few hundred million years.]



*... provided climate change does not kill us all.

2 comments:

Andrew said...

"As a TA for a Bio-geography course at the University of Minnesota, I teach and learn about place tectonics, soil formation, and geology"

I took this class way back in the day and am proud to say I got an A..or maybe a high B. One of the great parts of the class was learning about Minnesota's history and its bio-geography, later watching parts of TPT's a History of the Land (http://shop.mnhs.org/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=655)

Bill Lindeke said...

i am glad you liked it. not everybody does!