Library of Paleogeography

This is the new home for the Paleogeographic Maps of Ron Blakey as of March, 2011

(See Terms of Use at Right)

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About Paleogeographic Maps

The paleogeographic maps are arranged into several series that show how Earth or regions of the Earth may have appeared at various increments of time ("time slices"). Global views and their derivatives were prepared from rectangular projections drawn at a resolution of 3000x1500 pixels for each of the 26 time slices. The orthographic (spherical) and Mollweide (oval) paleogeographic maps were wrapped using the respective projections. Regional paleogeographic maps were prepared on base maps that display the given region. The various country, state, provincial, and county outlines provide reference frames for the given map series.

Topography was "cloned" from digital elevation maps of modern Earth from the USGS, NOAA, NASA, and other agencies. Most of the regional maps were cloned from GeoMapApp, a marine geoscience, global topography data system (http://www.geomapapp.org/). Colors were adjusted to portray climate and vegetation for the given time and location. The geologic data were gathered from numerous sources including the references listed below and references listed with individual series.

In addition to the maps included in the Library, Colorado Plateau Geosystems, Inc ™. has DVD's with all maps in each map series available for purchase on the Products page.

Custom paleogeographic maps are available upon request. Contact Ronald Blakey at rblakey@cpgeosystems.com. Standard global paleogeographic maps are centered on present day Equator and Greenwich Meridian. Custom paleogeographic maps can be ordered with centers on any point on the globe

Global maps are generally based upon three projections: Mollweide, Rectangular, and Orthographic (Spherical Globe). The data used for each of these sets is the same. Each map type has advantages and disadvantages. A brief summary of map projections is presented below; for more information, go to the USGS Map Projections website

Map Projections

Mollweide maps are pseudocylindrical ellipse projections that are depicted in a 2:1 proportion. This map allows the entire globe to be seen in one view. Maps with this projection display the correct area of features, but the dimensions and angles of features are not accurately depicted.

Rectangular maps are projected in a 2:1 proportion. This map allows the entire globe to be seen in one view. Areas and shapes are not accurately displayed, with accuracy decreasing farther from the equator.

Orthographic (spherical globe) maps accurately display the image as seen from space. Perspective is maintained but shapes and areas are distorted as the edge of the sphere is approached. The main disadvantage of this map is that only half of the globe can be displayed at one time. This can be compensated by showing two or more views of Earth at the same time (see multiple globes below). Orthographic views can be ornamented with shadows, clouds, atmospheric effects, and space backgrounds.

The Sky Series has maps currently available in certain time periods that show some of these effects. This series is at a resolution twice that of other orthographic maps and therefore, shows considerably more detail.

Examples of the various map series are shown below. The Mollweide, rectangular, and orthographic maps are each generated from the same data set (Late Pennsylvanian) so a direct comparison can be made for each of the map projections.

Global Maps


Mollweide Map


Rectangular Map


Multiple Globes


Sky Series


Regional Maps

North American Series (New in 2013)

Key time slices in NAM History ©


North American Series ©(previous)


Western North America ©


Colorado Plateau - Southwestern North America Series ©


Europe Series ©


References -- Scroll Down (additional refs in Library with each series)

  • Blakey, R. C., 1996, Permian eolian deposits, sequences, and sequence boundaries, Colorado Plateau, in Longman M, W. and Sonnenfeld, M. D. (eds), Paleozoic systems of the Rocky Mountain Region: Rocky Mountain Section SEPM, p. 405-426.
  • Blakey, R. C., Havholm, K. G., and Jones, L.S., 1996, Stratigraphic analysis of eolian interactions with marine and fluvial deposits, Middle Jurassic Page Sandstone and Carmel Formation, Colorado Plateau, U.S.A.: Journal of Sedimentary Research, V. 66, p. 324-342.
  • Blakey, R.C., 1994, Paleogeographic and tectonic controls on some Lower and Middle Jurassic erg deposits, Colorado Plateau, in Caputo, M.V., Peterson, J.A., and Franczyk, K.J., (eds.), Mesozoic systems of the Rocky Mountain region, USA: Rocky Mountain Section, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication, p. 273-298.
  • Blakey, R.C., Basham, E.L., and Cook, M.J., 1993, Early and Middle Triassic paleogeography, Colorado Plateau and vicinity, in Morales, M., ed., Aspects of Mesozoic Geology and Paleontology of the Colorado Plateau: Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin 59, p. 13-26.
  • Blakey, R.C., Peterson, F., and Kocurek, G., 1988, Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic eolian deposits of the Western Interior of the United States: Sedimentary Geology, v. 56, p. 3-125.
  • Blundell, D., Freeman, R, and Mueller, S. 1992, A continent revealed ‚ the European geotraverse: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 275p.
  • Burchfiel, B. C., Cowan, D. S., and Davis, G. A., 1992, Tectonic overview of the Cordilleran orogen in the western U. S., in Burchfiel, B. C., Lipman, P. W., and Zoback, M. L., The Cordilleran Orogen: conterminous U. S.: The Geology of North America, Volume G-3, Decade of North American Geology, Geological Society of America, Boulder, p. 407-480.
  • Christiansen, R. L., and Yeats, R. S., 1992, Post-Laramide geology of the western U.S. Cordillera, in Burchfiel, B. C., Lipman, P. W., and Zoback, M. L., The Cordilleran Orogen: conterminous U. S.: The Geology of North America, Volume G-3, Decade of North American Geology, Geological Society of America, Boulder, p. 261-406.
  • Cook, T. D. and Bally, A. W., 1975, Stratigraphic atlas of North and Central America: Princeton University Press, Princeton, 271 p.
  • Cowan, D. S. and Bruhn, R. L., 1992, Late Jurassic to early Late Cretaceous geology of the U. S. Cordillera, in Burchfiel, B. C., Lipman, P. W., and Zoback, M. L., The Cordilleran Orogen: conterminous U. S.: The Geology of North America, Volume G-3, Decade of North American Geology, Geological Society of America, Boulder, p. 169-204.
  • Frisch, W. 1979, Tectonic progradation and plate tectonic evolution of the Alps: Tectonophysics, v. 60, p. 121-139.
  • Gealey, W. K., 1989, Plate tectonic evolution of the Mediterranean ‚ Middle East region, in Scotese, C. R. and Sager, W.W. (eds.), Mesozoic and Cenozoic plate reconstructions, Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 285-306.
  • Ingersol, R. V. 1997, Phanerozoic tectonic evolution of central California and environs: International Geology Review, v. 39, p. 957-972.
  • Ingersol, R. V. and Schweickert, R. A. 1986, A plate-tectonic model for Late Jurassic ophiolite genesis, Nevadan orogeny and foreland initiation, northern California: Tectonics, v. 5, p. 901-912.
  • Lawton, T. F. 1994, Tectonic setting of Mesozoic sedimentary basins, Rocky Mountain region, United States, in Caputo, M.V., Peterson, J.A., and Franczyk, K.J., (eds.), Mesozoic systems of the Rocky Mountain region, USA: Rocky Mountain Section, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication, p. 1-25.
  • Miller, D. M., Nilsen, T. H., and Bilodeau, W. L., 1992, Late Cretaceous to early Eocene geologic evolution of the U. S. Cordillera, in Burchfiel, B. C., Lipman, P. W., and Zoback, M. L., The Cordilleran Orogen: conterminous U. S.: The Geology of North America, Volume G-3, Decade of North American Geology, Geological Society of America, Boulder, p. 205-260.
  • Miller, E. L., Miller, M. M., Stevens, C. H., Wright, J. E., and Madrid, R., 1992, Late Paleozoic paleogeography and tectonic evolution of the western U. S. Cordillera, in Burchfiel, B. C., Lipman, P. W., and Zoback, M. L., The Cordilleran Orogen: conterminous U. S.: The Geology of North America, Volume G-3, Decade of North American Geology, Geological Society of America, Boulder, p. 57-106.
  • Pindell, J. L., and six others, 1989, A plate-kinematic framework for models of Caribbean evolution, in Scotese, C. R. and Sager, W.W. (eds.), Mesozoic and Cenozoic plate reconstructions, Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 121-138.
  • Poole, F. G., and eight others, 1992, Latest Precambrian to latest Devonian time; development of a continental margin, in Burchfiel, B. C., Lipman, P. W., and Zoback, M. L., The Cordilleran Orogen: conterminous U. S.: The Geology of North America, Volume G-3, Decade of North American Geology, Geological Society of America, Boulder, p. 9-56.
  • Poole, F. G., and Sandberg, C. A., 1977, Mississippian paleogeography and Tectonics of the western United States, in Stewart, J. H., Stevens, C. H., and Fritsche, A. E., (eds.) Paleozoic paleogeography of the western United States, Pacific Section SEPM Symposium 1, p. 67-85.
  • Poole, F. G., Sandberg, C. A., and Boucot, A. J., 1977, Silurian and Devonian paleogeography of the western United States, in Stewart, J. H., Stevens, C. H., and Fritsche, A. E., (eds.) Paleozoic paleogeography of the western United States, Pacific Section SEPM Symposium 1, p. 39-65.
  • Rich, M., 1977, Pennsylvanian paleogeographic patterns of the western United States, in Stewart, J. H., Stevens, C. H., and Fritsche, A. E., (eds.) Paleozoic paleogeography of the western United States, Pacific Section SEPM Symposium 1, p. 87-111.
  • Riggs, N.R., and Blakey, R.C., 1993, Early and Middle Jurassic paleogeography and volcanology of Arizona and adjacent areas, in Dunne, G., and McDougall, K., (eds.), Mesozoic Paleogeography of the Western United States - II, Pacific Section Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Book 71, p. 347-375.
  • Ross, R. J., 1977, Ordovician paleogeography of the western United States, in Stewart, J. H., Stevens, C. H., and Fritsche, A. E., (eds.) Paleozoic paleogeography of the western United States, Pacific Section SEPM Symposium 1, p. 19-38.
  • Rowley, D. B. and Lottes, A. L., 1989, Plate-kinematic reconstructions of the North Atlantic and Arctic: Late Jurassic to Present, in Scotese, C. R. and Sager, W.W. (eds.), Mesozoic and Cenozoic plate reconstructions, Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 73-120
  • Royden, L. H. 1993, Evolution of retreating subduction boundaries formed during continental collision: Tectonics, v. 12, p. 629-638.
  • Saleeby, J. B., 1992, Prototectonic and paleogeographic settings of U. S. Cordilleran ophiolites, in Burchfiel, B. C., Lipman, P. W., and Zoback, M. L., The Cordilleran Orogen: conterminous U. S.: The Geology of North America, Volume G-3, Decade of North American Geology, Geological Society of America, Boulder, p.653-682.
  • Saleeby, J. B., and Busby-Spery, C., 1992, Early Mesozoic tectonic evolution of the western U. S. Cordillera, in Burchfiel, B. C., Lipman, P. W., and Zoback, M. L., The Cordilleran Orogen: conterminous U. S.: The Geology of North America, Volume G-3, Decade of North American Geology, Geological Society of America, Boulder, p. 107-168.
  • Scotese, C. R., 1998. Quicktime Computer Animations, PALEOMAP Project Department of Geology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas.
  • Scotese, C. R., Gahagan, L. M., and Larson, R. L., 1989, Plate tectonic reconstructions of the Cretaceous and Cenozoic ocean basins, in Scotese, C. R. and Sager, W.W. (eds.), Mesozoic and Cenozoic plate reconstructions, Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 27-48.
  • Sengor, A. M. C. and Natal?in, B. A., 1996, Paleotectonics of Asia: Fragments of a synthesis, in Yin, A. and Harrison, T. M., The tectonic evolution of Asia: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 486-640.
  • Stampfli, G., Borel, G., Cavazza, W., Moshar, J., and Ziegler, P. A., 2002, The paleotectonic atlas of the periTethyan domain: European Geophysical Society, CD-ROM.
  • Stevens, C. H., 1977, Permian depositional provinces and tectonics, western United States, in Stewart, J. H., Stevens, C. H., and Fritsche, A. E., (eds.) Paleozoic paleogeography of the western United States, Pacific Section SEPM Symposium 1, p. 113-135.
  • Van der Voo, R., 1993, Paleomagnetism of the Atlantic, Tethys, and Iapetus oceans: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 411 p.
  • Yin, A. and Shangyou, N, 1996, A Phanerozoic palinspastic reconstruction of China and its neighboring regions, in Yin, A. and Harrison, T. M., The tectonic evolution of Asia: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 442-485.
  • Ziegler, P. A. 1990, Geological atlas of western and central Europe: Shell International Petroleum, Maatschappij, 239p.