How Ancient Geology Left Its Mark on the United States: Maps Compare Cretaceous Alabama to Modern Voting Trends


A map comparison by a Reddit user shows an unexpected connection between how Alabama voted in 2016 and what the state looked like millions of years ago.

In an article on r / MapPorn by Drake Colfax, an Alabama resident who posts under the Reddit username MartyVanB, shows a side-by-side map that features seemingly unrelated things.

On the left side is a map showing a waterfront that stretched across what is now the state of Alabama during the Cretaceous Period, and on the right is a voting card showing which districts voted democrat.

However, when you look at the two together, the similarities are undeniable, which, according to user analysis, is due to a link between geology, agriculture, slavery and modern politics.

2018 Alabama Gubernatorial Election Results Shown

The map on the left shows the area of ​​exposure of sedimentary rocks deposited during the Late Cretaceous in Alabama about 100 to 66 million years ago. On the right, the results of the 2018 Alabama gubernatorial election are shown

WHEN GEOLOGY INFLUENCES HUMAN AFFAIRS

About 85 million years ago, an area of ​​Alabama known as the “black belt” was inundated by shallow ocean waters.

When the ocean water receded, it left behind a layer of limestone that led to the exceptionally mineral rich and fertile soil of Alabama.

Several millennia later, the land was fertile and farmers flocked to it. To cultivate the cotton strips, the farmers used black slaves, some of whom would eventually be freed and settle in the area in which they were forced to work.

This is far from the only case where geology has greatly affected the course of human affairs.

Notably, the formation of the English Channel was created by the rupture of a natural dam hundreds of thousands of years ago.

This same waterway was part of the reason why during World War II Adolf Hitler and German forces were unable to invade Britain.

“To provide a bit of context: the Cretaceous period coastline would become one of the richest farmlands in the United States thanks to the shoreline pushing the boulders deep and leaving behind rich deposits in truly loose soil, which would lead to the development of the cotton industry in this region which, of course, leads to large plantations with slaves whose deceased remain in this area, ”the user said.

According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, the region referenced by MartyVanB’s message is called the “black belt” where about 85 million years ago, shallow ocean waters flooded the surface.

When the ocean water receded, it left behind a layer of limestone that led to the exceptionally mineral rich and fertile soil of Alabama.

Fast forward to the early United States, especially the Confederate South when farmers flocked to the area, which became famous for its rich, dark soil, hence the name “black belt”.

To cultivate the cotton strips, the farmers used black slaves, some of whom would eventually be freed and settle in the area in which they were forced to work.

The post adds yet another layer as it moves quickly to 2016, when Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton faced Republican President Donald Trump in a presidential election.

The same area that had once been covered with seawater, leading to the fertile “black belt” was almost an exact replica of that of the district that voted for Clinton.

“I made the link from something I read recently about the 2020 Senate elections and Doug Jones running for re-election [and that] he’s probably not going to win without massive Democratic turnout, so I was looking at the Alabama election map in 2016 to see where the counties went and, of course, the black belt went fully Democrat, ” Drake said. Colfax working in CE

“When I looked at it, it immediately reminded me of this shore. I did some quick research and found that yes the old shore had a connection. I have always liked geology, history, geography etc … ‘

The rich soil of Alabama's

The rich soil of Alabama’s “black belt” was coveted by farmers who used slaves to grow cotton

There are other examples of geology greatly affecting the course of human history according to Colfax.  The 1860 <a class=map shows the extent of slavery in the United States” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

There are other examples of geology greatly affecting the course of human history according to Colfax. The 1860 map shows the extent of slavery in the United States

According to the New York Times, Clinton won 88% of the black vote – black voters have long been an established base for the party.

Colfax pointed to other examples throughout history where geology has greatly affected the course of human affairs.

Notably, the formation of the English Channel was created by the rupture of a natural dam hundreds of thousands of years ago. This same waterway was part of the reason why during World War II Adolf Hitler and German forces were unable to invade Britain.

Colfax considers himself an amateur, but the surprising links between geology and human history have not ceased to impress some Reddit users who have stopped to read his article.

“And here I thought it was just a joke card where you take two completely unrelated things that coincidentally line up, but here you are with real motivation as to why there is a real correlation!” Said one of them.


Comments are closed.