America colliding with Asia will result in the creation of a new supercontinent that has already been named Amasia.
The world we inhabit is constantly changing, and I am not making reference to human-caused change. Al planet is alive, and everything is in motion. If we look back at what our planet was like millions of years ago, we would see that the continents millions of people call home today were positioned differently and had very different shapes. As you are reading this, our continents continue to change. In the next millions of years, they will continue to do and drastically alter the charts we have today. In 200 to 300 million years, the Pacific Ocean will close, leading to the formation of Amasia, the world’s next supercontinent, new research has revealed.
In a paper published in National Science Review, scientists simulated how supercontinents form using a supercomputer and discovered that as the Earth cools over billions of years, the plates under the oceans become thinner and stronger over time, making it difficult for the next supercontinent to form by shutting down the oceans that are “young,” like the Atlantic and Indian ones. Chuan Huang, a lead author from Curtin’s Earth Dynamics Research Group and School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said the findings provided a clear picture of the Earth’s future in 200 million years.
The supercontinent cycle traces Earth’s tectonic history over two billion years as continents have collided and formed supercontinents approximately every 600 million years. According to Dr. Huang, the current continents will once again merge in a few hundred million years’ time. America colliding with Asia will result in the creation of a new supercontinent that has already been named Amasia since some believe the Pacific Ocean will close when the two collide rather than the Atlantic and Indian oceans, the researcher explained. When the Pacific Ocean closes, Australia will also be a major player in this important Earth event, colliding first with Asia, then connecting America with Asia.
Scientists were able to prove that in less than 300 million years, the Pacific Ocean is likely to close, allowing Amasia to be formed, debunking some previous scientific theories, by simulating how Earth’s tectonic plates are expected to evolve using a supercomputer. During the breakup of the previous supercontinent 700 million years ago, the Pacific Ocean was formed from what was left of the Panthalassa superocean. Since the dinosaur era, it has been shrinking from its maximum size. It is the oldest ocean on Earth. Currently, it is shrinking by a few centimeters per year. It will take two to three hundred million years for its current size of around 10 thousand kilometers to disappear.
Professor Zheng-Xiang Li, a Curtin Distinguished Professor, said having all of Earth dominated by one continent would have dramatic consequences for the environment and ecosystem. When Amasia forms, we will see a drastic difference in our world. Besides being lower in sea level, the interior of this supercontinent will be extremely dry, with a wide range of daily temperatures, Professor Li explained. “Currently, Earth consists of seven continents with widely different ecosystems and human cultures, so it would be fascinating to think what the world might look like in 200 to 300 million years’ time.”
You can read the full paper, titled ‘Will Earth’s next supercontinent assemble through the closure of the Pacific Ocean?’ by clicking here.