A mesmerising video of the Earth's movements over the past billion years shows Antarctica was once a 'holiday destination on the equator'.

Geoscientists released the video that for the first time shows the uninterrupted movement of the Earth's tectonic plates over one million millennia.

It reveals a planet in constant movement as land masses move around the Earth's surface, oceans open and close, and continents break up and rejoin to form giant supercontinents.

The international effort provides a scientific framework for understanding life on Earth and for finding critical metal resources needed for a low-carbon future.

Co study author Dr Michael Tetley, of the University of Sydney, Australia, said: "For the first time a complete model of tectonics has been built, including all the boundaries.

"On a human timescale, things move in centimetres per year, but as we can see from the animation, the continents have been everywhere in time.

"A place like Antarctica that we see as a cold, icy inhospitable place today, actually was once quite a nice holiday destination at the equator."

Scientists revealed "a mesmerising dance" when condensing one billion years of the Earth's movements into a 40-second clip.

Co-author Dr Sabin Zahirovic, from the University of Sydney, said: "Planet Earth is incredibly dynamic, with the surface composed of plates that constantly jostle each other in a way unique among the known rocky planets.

"These plates move at the speed fingernails grow, but when a billion years is condensed into 40 seconds a mesmerising dance is revealed.

"Oceans open and close, continents disperse and periodically recombine to form immense supercontinents."

Lead author and creator of the video Dr Andrew Merdith began work on the project during his PhD at the University of Sydney.

Earth scientists from every continent have collected and published data, often from inaccessible and remote regions.

Dr Merdith, now based at the University of Lyon, France, and others assimilated this data over the past four years to produce this billion-year model.

Co-author Professor Dietmar Müller said: "Our team has created an entirely new model of Earth evolution over the last billion years.

"Our planet is unique in the way that it hosts life. But this is only possible because geological processes, like plate tectonics, provide a planetary life-support system."

The model will allow scientists to better understand how the interior of the Earth convects, chemically mixes and loses heat via seafloor spreading and volcanism.

It will also help to show how climate has changed, how ocean currents altered and how nutrients fluxed from the deep earth to stimulate biological evolution.

Prof Müller added: "Simply put, this complete model will help explain how our home, planet earth, became habitable for complex creatures.

"Life on earth would not exist without plate tectonics.

"With this new model, we are closer to understanding how this beautiful blue planet became our cradle."

Plate tectonics are responsible for the deep-carbon and deep-water cycles and affects the evolution of life.

The arrangement of continents has changed sea level in the past and evolving species mix when the continents combine.

A growing focus on renewable and low-carbon technologies will mean we need to find more copper and other resources.

To find these deposits, the new models of plate tectonics will help reduce the environmental footprint of mineral exploration and extraction.