Illinois State Museum

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Some changes happen quickly, while others take a long time.

The climate warmed very rapidly, perhaps within a few decades, at the end of the most recent glacial period, about 12,000 years ago. Continents change position very slowly, at a rate of about 2 centimeters (less than an inch) per year. At that rate, it would take about 16 million years to travel the distance from Springfield to Chicago.