"Earth on Turtle's Back" is the creation story for the American Indian Onondaga tribe. According to Yale University professor Marcia L. Gerencser, creation stories explain how the world came into existence.
Creation myths in many cultures serve as symbolic stories of how the Earth was created. They also explain how people came to live on the Earth. According to Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac, authors of "Keepers of the Earth," in "Earth on Turtle's Back," animals, plants, seasons, elements and the four directions play crucial roles in explaining the origins of the world.
In the story, an ancient chief lived in Skyland, a land above the clouds over a world of water, with his pregnant wife. In Skyland was a Great Tree, which pointed to the four directions and which the wife dreamed was uprooted. Because she dreamed it, the chief had the tree uprooted. This left a hole through which the wife fell toward the water land. Because the chief's wife couldn't survive in a watery environment, the water animals created a land environment on a great turtle's back.
According to professor Gerenscer, the myth shows the importance the Onondaga placed on dreams. According to authors Caduto and Bruchac, the myth also shows the cultural belief that smaller and weaker beings can achieve acts that larger, stronger beings cannot. This leads to the lesson of the story, that determination is more important that strength in completing tasks.Learn More
Earth is geologically active because its internal heat keeps the outer core and lithosphere molten, encouraging plate movement and volcanic activity. Earth's crust consists of tectonic plates floating atop the malleable mantle, which in turn rises and falls over the semi-liquid outer core. The intense heat forces molten rock up toward the surface, creating new crust and driving intense geologic activity.Full Answer >
Astronomers theorize that over 4.5 billion years ago, Theia, an object about the size of Mars, collided with Earth to create a tilted axis. This is called "the giant impact theory." Prior to this event, the axis was straight at 180 degrees.Full Answer >
As of 2014, scientists believe the Earth to be 4.54 billion years old, plus or minus 50 million years. This measurement was calculated using radiometric dating techniques on rocks found on Earth, samples from the Moon and meteorites from elsewhere in the Solar System.Full Answer >
The Iroquois creation story relates how a woman fell from the sky and was carried by birds to a giant turtle upon whose back the Earth was created, according to Iroquois Indian Museum. When she died, the woman became the moon while her daughter became Mother Earth. The Sky Woman's twin grandsons created the flowers, land and animals on the planet.Full Answer >