All the terrestrial part of the planet will unite in a single body within 280 million years
Research led by Curtin University (Australia) has found that the world’s next supercontinent, Amasia (acronym for America and Asia), it will probably form when the Pacific Ocean is completely closed, which will happen within 200 or 300 million years. Then, all the present continents will unite forming a single land mass.
Published in National Science Reviewthe research team used a supercomputer to simulate how a supercontinent forms and found that because the Earth has been cooling for billions of years, the thickness and strength of the tectonic plates under the oceans reduce over time, making it more difficult for the next supercontinent to assemble from of the closure of the “young” oceans, such as the Atlantic or the Indian Ocean.
Lead author Dr Chuan Huang, from Curtin’s Earth Dynamics Research Group and School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said the new findings were significant and provided insight into what would happen to Earth. in the next 200 million years.
“For the past 2 billion years, Earth’s continents have collided to form a supercontinent every 600 million years., known as the supercontinent cycle. This means that the current continents will join together again in a couple of hundred million years,” Huang explained.
“The resulting new supercontinent already it has been named Amasia because it is believed that the Pacific Ocean will close (unlike the Atlantic and Indian oceans) when America collides with Asia. Australia is also expected to play a part in this major land event, first by colliding with Asia and then connecting the Americas and Asia, once the Pacific Ocean closes.
“By simulating how Earth’s tectonic plates are expected to evolve using a supercomputer, we were able to show that in less than 300 million years the Pacific Ocean is likely to close, allowing Amasia to form and thus discrediting some previous scientific theories.” he added.
The Pacific Ocean is what remains of the Panthalassa super ocean that began to form 700 million years ago. when the previous supercontinent began to break up, forming the current ones. It is the oldest ocean we have on Earth and began to shrink from its maximum size from the time of the dinosaurs. It is currently still contracting a few centimeters per year and is projected to take 200 to 300 million years to fully close.
Professor Zheng-Xiang Li, also from the Curtin School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said having the entire world dominated by a single landmass would drastically alter Earth’s ecosystem and environment.
“Earth as we know it will be drastically different when Amasia forms. Sea levels are expected to be lower, and the vast interior of the supercontinent will be very arid with high daily temperature ranges.”said Professor Li.
“Currently, the Earth consists of seven continents with very different ecosystems and human cultures, so it would be fascinating to think about what the world will look like in 200 to 300 million years.”
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