Researchers Say Supercontinent 'Amasia' Will Form Once Pacific Ocean Disappears
Researchers at Curtin University and Peking University say the Earth's continents will collide within the next 200 million to 300 million years.
Image via Getty/Zhihao
Earth is headed toward unrecognizable changes.
According to researchers at Curtin University in Australia and Peking University in China, the world will experience a geological reconfiguration caused by the Pacific Ocean’s inevitable disappearance. The study, published by the National Science Review, highlights the fact that the globe’s oldest and largest ocean began shrinking during the dinosaur era, and continues to lose a few centimeters every year. This process, paired with the movement of tectonic plates, will lead to the formation of a new supercontinent known as “Amasia.”
Using calculations generated by a supercomputer, researchers determined Australia will attach to Asia as the Americas get pulled to the west. The masses will eventually collide, as Antarctica merges with South America, and Africa closes in on Europe.
But there’s no need for concern, as we’ll be long gone before the shifts take place. Evidence shows a supercontinent forms on the Earth every 600 million years. The last and most famous one was Pangaea, which formed about 300 million years ago and separated between 120 million and 130 million years later.
“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,” lead author Dr. Chuan Huang said in a statement. “This means that the current continents are due to come together again in a couple of hundred of million years’ time.”
The study’s co-author Zheng-Xiang Li said the collision of continents would significantly alter the Earth’s eco-system and biodiversity.
“Earth as we know it will be drastically different when Amasia forms. The sea level is expected to be lower, and the vast interior of the supercontinent will be very arid with high daily temperature ranges,’ Li said. ‘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.”