16 March 2011

Modern Continental Drift Rates

For future reference, continental drift in active faults like East Africa's Rift Valley or North America's Pacific Coast is on the order of ten to thirty feet per century; one hundred to three hundred feet per thousand years; about three hundred meters to a kilometer per per ten thousand years; and two to six miles overall since modern humans left Africa. In that time frame, the direction of fault movement has been essentially unchanged. (Links misplaced before I made this post.) The human impact of volcanos and earthquakes is generallly going to be more significant impacts of geological activity than continental drift in this time frame.

This isn't so small that it is entirely irrelevant in the time frame of hominin evolution, but is largely overshadowed by more dramatic changes in this time frame in sea levels and global climate.

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