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Supercontinent Amasia Expected in 300 Million Years

06/10/2022BY Migrate 2 Oz

Supercontinent Amasia is expected to form in 300 million years, according to models.

Modeling predicts the Pacific Ocean will close and America will collide with AsiaCurtin University

Researchers at Curtin University have developed new models that anticipate the emergence of a supercontinent called Amasia by simulating the movement of tectonic plates over a period of 300 million years. Data suggests that if the Pacific Ocean were to close, the United States would crash into Asia.

According to Chuan Huang, the principal author of the new study, “every 600 million years, Earth’s continents have merged to produce a supercontinent, known as the supercontinent cycle." In a couple hundred million years from now, the continents as we know them now will once again merge into one.

Pangaea, the last known supercontinent, formed around 335 Ma and began to split up around 200 Ma, at the start of the Jurassic period.

The progressive rifting of continents after Pangaea broke up eventually generated the Atlantic and Indian seas, giving rise to the modern-day distribution of landmasses. The Pacific Ocean is all that’s left of a much larger body of water once known as Panthalassa. And because this ocean has been gradually contracting over the course of several hundred million years, many scientists believe that its closure will result in the formation of the next supercontinent.

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However, many theories have been proposed to explain the movement of continents over the next several hundred million years. A scenario called Pangaea Proxima proposes that the Atlantic and Indian oceans will eventually merge, forming a new supercontinent similar to Pangaea. Another theory suggests that the Atlantic and Pacific will merge and that a rift will form between India and the Arctic, uniting the two halves of Eurasia to form a supercontinent called Aurica.

In the current study, researchers employed 4-D geodynamic modeling to foretell tectonic behavior spanning several billion years. According to Huang, the data show that in fewer than 300 million years, a supercontinent dubbed Amasia will arise, and the Pacific Ocean would likely close.

Because of the widespread belief that the Pacific Ocean will close when America and Asia clash, Huang noted, the resulting new supercontinent has been dubbed Amasia. Australia is predicted to have a role in this major Earth event by colliding with Asia and then serving as a land bridge between the Americas and Asia once the Pacific Ocean dries up.

Co-author Zheng-Xiang Li predicted that by the time Amasia has formed, the planet’s ecosystems will be drastically changed. The vast supercontinent’s interior would unavoidably be extremely hot and dry.

“It’s exciting to contemplate what the globe would look like in 200 to 300 million years from now, given that Earth comprises of seven continents with drastically distinct ecosystems and human cultures," said Li.

The new study was published in National Science Review.Source: Curtin University