We have to talk about this

Minnesota is shrinking? By about a millimeter a year?

I agree. Minnesota should not be squishy, and it’s going to be all we talk about around here.

In tangentially related headlines, the Washington Post announces that Tired of hostile Washington, China courts Indiana and Minnesota. I’m all for more international cooperation, but all they talk about is EV busses and exchange programs. There’s nothing about China helping us alleviate this terrible squishing.


  1. StevoR says

    If Minnesota is slowly rebounding after the weight of the glacial ice pressing down it has been removed doesn’t that mean that its bouncing back and kinda un-squishing?

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    Confining those walleyes to a smaller area will make them easier to catch, right?

  3. birgerjohansson says

    StevoR @1
    I suspect the rebound is in three dimensions so the north crust moves upwards and to the sides.

  4. rabbitbrush says

    If Minnesota is squishing from the north to southward, I suppose Warshington State must be, too. But isostatic rebound (and subduction zone shenanigans) is causing Warshington to grow upward, so Minnesota must be growing taller, also… unless erosion puts the kibosh to all of that. You need to pay attention to that equilibrium, between growing and eroding. Taller and thinner!

  5. larrylyons says

    Hmm does this mean that Manitoba is getting larger? Look out North Dakota you’re next!


  6. raven says

    It is even worse than just shrinking.
    Minnesota is also moving southwest at 2.3 cm/year.
    It won’t be that long before Minnesota reaches the subtropics.

    For the most part, the North American Plate moves in roughly a southwest direction away from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at a rate of about 2.3 centimeters (~1 inch) per year.

    North American Plate – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › North_American_Plate

  7. raven says

    It’s gets worse.
    Minnesota is on schedule to get run over by the Andromeda galaxy in the future.

    The Andromeda Galaxy is approaching the Milky Way at about 300 km/s (200 miles per second) as indicated by blueshift. However, the lateral speed (measured as proper motion) is very difficult to measure with sufficient precision to draw reasonable conclusions.

    Andromeda–Milky Way collision – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki

    The Andromeda galaxy is coming towards us at 300 km/second.
    It will collide with our galaxy in 5 billion years.

    Whenever I hear about Intelligent Design or benign creator gods, I have to wonder which universe they are talking about.
    It isn’t ours for sure.

    This collision of two giant spiral galaxies is going to wreck them both. It’s also likely to be one of the last collisions in our universe because the universe is expanding and that expansion is speeding up due to Dark Energy.

  8. charley says

    A proportional response is called for. Until Canada compensates Minnesota with an annual case of toilet paper for use in their highway rest stops, Minnesotans should occasionally throw snowballs at Canadian border crossing stations.

  9. Rich Woods says

    It’s also likely to be one of the last collisions in our universe because the universe is expanding and that expansion is speeding up due to Dark Energy.

    Galaxies in clusters are already gravitationally bound and comparatively close enough together that it’s going to be a long time before they will all be torn apart from each other by the expansion of the universe. With hundreds of galaxies per cluster and billions of clusters within the observable universe, there’s a long way to go before collisions are no longer possible.

  10. Walter Solomon says

    raven 10

    This collision of two giant spiral galaxies is going to wreck them both.

    I read that very few actual collisions will occur when this happens since objects in the two galaxies are spaced so far apart. It will just create a new mega galaxy.

  11. raven says

    We don’t really know what will happen.
    But there are a lot of possibilities and they aren’t good.
    A direct collision is unlikely but near misses can still do a lot of damage.
    Imagine a comet shower heading towards the inner solar system

    Wikipedia Formation and evolution of the Solar System Galactic collision;

    It is a common misconception that this collision will disrupt the orbits of the planets in the Solar System. Although it is true that the gravity of passing stars can detach planets into interstellar space, distances between stars are so great that the likelihood of the Milky Way–Andromeda collision causing such disruption to any individual star system is negligible. Although the Solar System as a whole could be affected by these events, the Sun and planets are not expected to be disturbed.[138]

    However, over time, the cumulative probability of a chance encounter with a star increases, and disruption of the planets becomes all but inevitable. Assuming that the Big Crunch or Big Rip scenarios for the end of the Universe do not occur, calculations suggest that the gravity of passing stars will have completely stripped the dead Sun of its remaining planets within 1 quadrillion (1015) years. This point marks the end of the Solar System. Although the Sun and planets may survive, the Solar System, in any meaningful sense, will cease to exist.[3]

    Our solar system is definitely going to see some major changes.

    Wikipedia Andromeda collision:

    Based on current calculations they predict a 50% chance that in a merged galaxy, the Solar System will be swept out three times farther from the galactic core than its current distance.[3] They also predict a 12% chance that the Solar System will be ejected from the new galaxy sometime during the collision.[16][17]

    Some calculations have our solar system getting caught by the central supermassive black holes.

    I don’t think anyone really knows right now what exactly will happen. It isn’t like we see this happening all the time.
    But given the gigantic masses and energies involved, things will definitely happen.

  12. robro says

    Walter Solomon @ #13 — Very few if any stars would actually collide but the galaxies aren’t just stars. In fact they are mostly unorganized dust, gases, and dark matter. Galaxy collisions do disrupt the galaxies as seen in many images of galaxy collisions. There’s a recent Scientific American article about the identification of the building blocks of the Milky Way which involves a number of collisions with smaller galaxies.

  13. astringer says

    Matt G @ 4. Agree in principal, but think that “3.154×10^8 s” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it…

  14. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    OTOH, Michigan ought to be squishy, being an oven mitt and all.

  15. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    It’s because Prince died, innit? He dies in 2016, everything goes to shit. Now even his home state is shrinking. ;)

  16. outis says

    @raven: not to worry! It will happen, but when the ravishingly named Milkdromeda galaxy will be formed, we shall be long gone. It’s around 5 billion years in the future and by then the Sun will be a red giant and will have fried Earth quite nicely. A pity, because two spiral galaxies merging and twisting around each other will be a spendid, mind-bending show. Alas, like much in the heavens, ’tis not a spectacle meant for humans, unless we succeed in spawning some really long term descendants.
    Here’s some more galactic fun:


  17. Alan G. Humphrey says

    outis @19
    I prefer AndroWheyda as the moniker for the combined galaxy. Our location on the Hooterville line makes it pretty likely that we’ll not suffer much direct consequences. If we’re not pushed farther out into the boonies and deeper in dust, we may even get a glimpse of the spectacular show when the supermassive black holes merge. I wonder if there is a chance for a cosmic ray of such energy that when it collides with some matter in our red giant sun it creates a micro black hole. It’ll take an additional 30,000 years for it to show up, after an additional billion or more years for the black hole tango climax, so I’ll not plan my schedule around that.

  18. KG says

    You think that’s bad? Britain is tilting – the north-west rising, the south-east sinking – supposedly as a result of that same glacial rebound. Many years ago I wrote a letter to the Guardian about this crucial matter – proposing, among other measures, a ban on all heavy industry south of a line drawn from the Bristol Channel to the Wash, but AFAIK, nothing has been done to halt or even slow the process.

  19. Reginald Selkirk says

    The moon is shrinking

    … But now a study funded by NASA is ringing an alarm bell: As the moon’s core gradually cools and shrinks, its surface develops creases — like a grape shriveling into a raisin — that create “moonquakes” that can last for hours, as well as landslides. Much like the rest of the natural satellite’s surface, the area of the south pole that is the subject of so much interest is prone to these seismic phenomena, potentially posing a threat to future human settlers and equipment…