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Astounding animation shows how continents on Earth could look in 250 million years

The study has revealed that the Earth could see a newly formed supercontinent.

Astounding animation shows how continents on Earth could look in 250 million years
Cover Image Source: YouTube| AGU

Earth’s surface has evolved dynamically over millions of years. This has reshaped the borders and boundaries we see today. But have you ever wondered how our planet might look after millions of years? An animation from the nonprofit AGU (Advancing Earth and Space Science) shows potential massive changes to Earth's continents over the next 250 million years. The concept of a "supercontinent" was first proposed in 1912 by German meteorologist Alfred Wegener, according to IFL Science.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pixabay

Wegener proposed that Earth's dynamic plate tectonics would eventually merge multiple continents into a supercontinent. Although this process unfolded over millions of years, Wegener studied these changes and named the supercontinent "Pangaea." In the animated clip, one can observe how the continents are expected to transform over the years. After approximately 250 million years, the Pangea is expected to be reformed drastically. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pixabay

Oceanographer Mattias Green from Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences led a study suggesting ocean tides play a significant role in forming supercontinents. He shared his opinion in a press release, “Our simulations suggest that the tides are, at the moment, abnormally large. And that was our motivating question: If the tides were weak up until 200 million years ago, and they’ve since shot up and become very energetic over the past two million years, what will happen if we move millions of years into the future?”

The study explains that continents rest atop rock slabs known as tectonic plates. These plates slowly move over millennia to eventually form a supercontinent. This causes the planet’s ocean basins to open and create one unbroken mass of water. The plates are responsible for the formation of the shape of the continents and the water basins. While the earlier transformations took over 200 million years, the study suggests that over the next 50 million years, tides would come together and grow stronger to break the Asian continent.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Curioso Photography
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Curioso Photography

In 100 million years, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean are expected to be joined by a new Pan-Asian ocean. Eventually, the other continents, too, will see a drift as the years go by. By 150 million years, it is expected that the supercontinent will begin to form with the land masses moving, and by 250 years, a new supercontinent is presumed. Geophysicist Dietmar Müller from the University of Sydney in Australia added that these massive changes aren’t likely to make a difference for the current life on Earth given the period of 250 million years.

However, he highlighted that understanding the same provides scope for studying various future aspects. “It probably doesn’t mean anything to humans now in our lifetime. But it does enhance our understanding of interactions between plate tectonics, Earth’s climate system, its oceans, and even how the evolution of life is, at least to some extent, driven by this tidal process,” he explained.



 

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