On the move
We spend a lot of time thinking about the near future. Will the AI launch a nuclear war by 2040? Will we live on Earth's beds until 2100? But what about the way, way a distant future – what will the Earth be like, say, 200 million years?
One, geology certainly will not be the same. According to the international team of researchers, our planet is about 200 to 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 of what it will look like.
The earth troughs consist of 12 tectonic plates that are in a constant, very slow motion. These plates meet, and then separate into a cycle that lasts between 400 and 600 million years. The last time the tables merged about 310 million years ago, before the time of the dinosaurs, at that moment they formed the supernatant of Pangea.
To understand what the next supercontinent might look like, the researchers analyzed the history of the Earth tectonics and the tectonic activity that is currently taking place. From this came four possible configurations of supercontinent future, which are called Novopange, Pangea Ultima, Aurica and Amasia.
The researchers believe that Novopange is the most likely scenario because it would be the outcome of today's conditions that remained – the three remaining scenarios would only be played as a result of a major change in the Earth's tectonic plate, such as the impact of an anomaly in the interior of the planet that has yet to develop.
A lot of thinking about the image
Although, obviously, we will not be living to see which of these scenarios – if it comes – actually comes to the realization, the researchers did not undertake this project just for fun. As they notice in the article published in Talk:
Researching the tectonic future of Earth requires us to foster the boundaries of our knowledge and to think about the processes that shape our planet over longer periods of time. It also leads us to think about the Earth system as a whole and to raise a number of other questions – which will be the climate of the next supercontinent? How will the ocean circulation be adjusted? How will life be developed and adapted? These are questions that further stimulate the boundaries of science because they suppress the limits of our imagination.
READ MORE: Which planet Earth can look like when the following supercontinent forms – four scenarios[[[[Talk]