In the next 300 million years, all of Earth’s continents will collide with each other and form the new supercontinent Amasia, closing the Pacific Ocean.
At least that’s what a new study by Curtin University researchers, published in National Science Reviewwhich presents the medium-term geological future of our planet.
“Over the past two billion years, Earth’s continents have merged into a supercontinent every 600 million years, which is known as the supercontinent cycle,” Chuan Hung said in a press release.
How will the new supercontinent Amasia form?
“This means that the current continents will come together again in a few hundred million years,” Hung continued.
To establish a time frame, the researchers used 4D geodynamic modeling of Earth’s tectonic plates, determined to find out why past supercontinents formed in completely different ways.
Of these modes, introversion is one of the two main patterns and occurs when continents close around an internal ocean that formed when the previous supercontinent broke apart.
At the opposite end is extroversion, where the continents close around a former outer super-ocean. If one piece of rocky history could be clarified, researchers could better predict when the new supercontinent Amasia will form.
What the researchers found is that the strength of the oceanic lithosphere determines what form of assembly will take place, and from this they concluded that extroversion will be responsible for the next supercontinent. In this case, the former super-ocean is the Pacific, formerly the much larger Panthalassa super-ocean, which surrounded Pangea, the former supercontinent.
“The resulting new supercontinent has already been named Amasia because some believe the Pacific Ocean will close (as opposed to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans) when America collides with Asia. Australia is also expected to play a role in this major event on Earth, first colliding with Asia and then connecting America and Asia once the Pacific Ocean closes,” Huang said.
If confirmed, these are remarkable discoveries that offer a glimpse into the future of the planet. But this is only one of many hypotheses regarding the movement of continents; another hypothesis is the Pangea Proxima model, which suggests that the Atlantic and Indian oceans will be the ones to close, notes Futurism.