Over the next 200 to 300 million years, the Arctic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea will disappear, and Asia will crash into the Americas forming a new supercontinent called Amasia, scientists have said.
Researchers at Curtin University in Australia and Peking University in China stated that the Pacific Ocean is slowly but consistently shrinking by around one inch every year. Therefore, at some point – probably within 200 million to 300 million years – they believe that the Earth’s landmasses will come together and the Americas and Asia will collide to create a new supercontinent: Amasia.
“Over the past two billion years, Earth’s continents have collided together to form a supercontinent every 600 million years, known as the supercontinent cycle. This means that the current continents are due to come together again in a couple of hundred of million years’ time,” said Dr Chuan Huang, lead author of a study published in the journal National Science Review.
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Researchers explained that Earth’s supercontinents are believed to have formed in vastly two different ways – introversion and extroversion. “The former involves the closure of the internal oceans formed during the break-up of the previous supercontinent, whereas the latter involves the closure of the previous external superocean,” they said, as per The Independent.
Now, by simulating the Earth’s tectonic plates using a supercomputer, the team said that they were able to show that in less than 300 million years’ time the shrinking of the Pacific Ocean will make way for the formation of Amasia.
“The resulting new supercontinent has already been named Amasia because some believe that 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 important Earth event, first colliding with Asia and then connecting America and Asia once the Pacific Ocean closes,” Mr Huang added.
The experts believe that the new supercontinent will form on the top of the Earth and would eventually slump south toward the equator. If this does happen, then Antarctica might remain isolated at the bottom of the world.
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The team explained that Australia is already drifting toward Asia at a rate of about 7 centimetres per year, while Eurasia and the Americas are moving at slower rates toward the Pacific Ocean.
In their study, the researchers predicted that with the formation of the new supercontinent, our planet can be expected to be drastically different from what it is now. “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 million to 300 million years’ time,” they said.