Imagine how the Earth would look like in 200 million years. Maps published by the Conversation shows radical geographic transformation.
Earth’s crust consists of 12 tectonic plates that moves in a very slow motion. These plates all come together and then separate in a cycle that lasts roughly 400 to 600 million years. The last time the plates came together was about 310 million years ago, before the time of the dinosaurs, forming the Pangea supercontinent.
So, now the big question arises is that how the next supercontinent might look like and how it will form? To find the answers, researchers analyzed the history of Earth’s plate tectonics activity currently taking place and came up with four possible future supercontinent scenarios, which they call Novopangea, Pangea Ultima, Aurica, and Amasia.
The present-day condition is totally suitable for this scenario where the Atlantic continues to open and the Pacific keeps closing forming the supercontinent in the antipodes of Pangea. The American Continents would dash against northward drifting Antarctica, and then into the already collided Africa-Eurasia leading to the formation of Novopangea or Novopangaea.
According to Pangaea Ultima scenario, the Atlantic and Indian Ocean will continue to get wider until new subduction zones bring the continent back together, forming the future Pangaea. Most continents and microcontinents are predicted to collide with Eurasia like America and Africa. Also this new supercontinent would be surrounded by a super Pacific Ocean.
In Aurica hypothesis, the west of Asia goes with Europe and Africa, while the east collided with Oceania and later Antarctica, eventually closing both the Atlantic and the Pacific. The Atlantic subduction and reverse of its expansion will not prevent the Pacific shrinking, but run alongside it, as a new fault line forms in the middle of Eurasia, ripping the Himalayas and Urals apart.
The fourth scenario reveals completely different picture where the supercontinent would lay across the Northern Hemisphere after Asia collided with the Americas. This would occur after Earth lost the Arctic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea due to the movement of tectonic plates.
Out of the four scenarios, researchers believe Novopangea to be most likely one as it would be the outcome of today’s conditions persisting. The other three remaining scenarios would only play their role in the result of any major change happen in the Earth’s tectonic plates.
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