NASA reveals how the Earth Looks like when oceans are dried.





Schematic of the land revealed around North America if sea levels were to drop 2,500+ meters. – DR JAMES O’DONOGHUE / NASA


Have you ever wondered how the world looks like without oceans? NASA reveals a remarkable video showing what Earth would look like if the oceans drained.

The video is a re-creation of the 2008 animation by Horace Mitchell from NASA. In 2008, Dr. Mitchell developed an animated video showing a scenario where three-fifths of Earth’s surface, which is currently under the ocean, was revealed.

This re-created video was recently remade by Dr. James O’Donoghue, a planetary scientist with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and formerly with NASA. Dr. O’Donoghue recreated the video at a much higher resolution, slowed down the animation to better see what the Earth looks like during the first 10’s of meters of draining and added a tracker to show how much water had been drained.

The video reveals important information about the vast unknown of the ocean seafloor but also about human evolution.

During the last glacial maximum (LGM), about 26,000 to 19,000 years ago, sea level was about 410 feet below its current level. The sea level was so much lower than it is today because a tremendous amount of the ocean’s water was locked away on top of continents and countries across the globe, from Antarctica to Greenland as well as northern North America and Europe.

This created land bridges appearing between continents and islands, used by early humans to migrate around the world.

Our ancestors migrated from continental Europe to the UK through land bridges, as well as from Alaska to the far eastern tip of Russia. Also, the land connecting North and South America was wider and thus easier to navigate between the two continents.

Below is a screenshot of what the Earth’s land and oceans could have looked like during the Last Glacial Maximum when sea level was about 125 meters below current sea level. You can see the connecting land in southeastern Asia, Australia, between Europe and the UK and between Russia and North America.

Example of the sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum.


While there is no concern that the oceans will drain anytime soon, the thought exercise reveals interesting features that our ancestors faced and can help us make sense for early human migration as well as what we could face if another ice age began.

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