On the Move
We spend a lot of time thinking about the near future. Will AIs launch a nuclear war 2040? Will we live on a greenhouse land before 2100? But how is the way far the distant future – how will the earth be like you, 200 million years?
For one thing, geology is really not the same. According to an international research group, our planet is about 200-250 million years away from the formation of a new supercontinent – a giant land mass consisting of the seven continents we currently know and love – and they think they have a pretty good idea how it comes to look.
The Earth’s crust consists of 1
2 tectonic plates that hold a constant, very slow movement. These tiles all come together and are then separated in a cycle that lasts about 400 to 600 million years. The last time the plates came together were about 310 million years ago, before the dinosaurs time, at what time they formed the Pangea supercontinent.
To find out what the next supercontinent can look like, the researchers analyzed the story of Earth’s plotonicism and the tectonic activity is currently being practiced. Then they arrived at four possible future supercontinuous configurations, which they call Novopangea, Pangea Ultima, Aurica and Amasia.
The researchers believe that Novopangea is the most likely scenario because it would be the result of today’s conditions – the three remaining scenarios would only play out as a result of a major change in the planet’s flatness, such as the influence of any anomaly in the planet’s interior that has not yet been developed.
Big Picture Thinking
While clearly, we will not live to see which of these scenarios – if any – will actually be produced, the researchers simply did not do this project for fun. As they note in an article published in The Conversation :
Examining the tectonic future of the earth forces us to push the limits of our knowledge and to think about the processes that shape our planet over long weights. It also leads us to think of the Earth system as a whole and raises a host of other issues – what is the climate for the next supercontinent to be? How should ocean circulation adjust? How will life be developed and adapted? This is the kind of questions that further the limit of science, as they drive the boundaries of our imagination.
READ MORE: What planet earth can look like when the next supercontinent forms – four scenarios [ conversation ]