A new study carried out by scientists at Curtin University (Australia) maintains that, within 300 million years, the largest ocean on the planet will disappear after a future union of Asia and America. This geographic change due to the movement of the tectonic plates will give way to a new supercontinent called “Amasia”.
Through a new supercomputer simulation of the Earth’s tectonic plates, a new study predicted that in the future the Pacific Ocean will disappear due to the collision of Asia and America, giving way to amasiaa new supercontinent.
The research, led by Curtin University (Australia), was published in the journal National Science Review. It establishes that the largest and deepest ocean on Earth 300 million years left.
Since the planet has been cooling for billions of years, the science team found that the thickness and strength of the plates under the oceans decrease over time. Thus, according to the researchers, the Pacific Ocean, which is retreating almost a centimeter a year, is home to numerous subduction zones, places where tectonic plates collide and overlap.
Known colloquially in the Pacific as the “Ring of Fire,” these places function almost like bathtub drains for the ocean floor, Science Alert reports.
New @CurtinUni-led research has found that the world’s next supercontinent, Amasia, will most likely form when the Pacific Ocean closes in 200 to 300 million years. Read more: https://t.co/p1J4XEbCPw pic.twitter.com/EkzBV2DZbU
—Curtin Media (@CurtinMedia) September 30, 2022
The continents will join again
“For the past two billion years, Earth’s continents have collided with each other to form a supercontinent every 600 million years, known as the supercontinent cycle. This means that today’s continents will come back together in a couple of hundred million years,” explained lead author Dr. Dr Chuan Huangof the Curtin Earth Dynamics Research Group and the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, in a university news release.
According to Huang, the new findings are significant and provide insight into what will happen to Earth in the next 200 million years.
“The resulting new supercontinent has already been named Amasia because some believe the Pacific Ocean will close (unlike the Atlantic and Indian Oceans) when the Americas collide with Asia. Australia is also expected to play a role in this major Earth event, first colliding with Asia and then connecting America and Asia once the Pacific Ocean closes,” the author said.
The Pacific Ocean will disappear
Not all scientists agree on what the next supercontinent will look like or how it will form, but in many simulations, the Pacific Ocean is doomed to disappear, Science Alert reports.
While some studies suggest that the currently expanding Atlantic Ocean could begin to shrink in the future, creating a supercontinent ringed by a super Pacific Ocean, researchers at Curtin University disagree.
“By simulating how Earth’s tectonic plates are expected to evolve using a supercomputer, we were able to show that in less than 300 million years it is likely that it will be the Pacific Ocean that will close, allowing the formation of Amasiawhich discredits some previous scientific theories,” said Huang.
Changes in the Earth’s ecosystem and environment
On the other hand, according to the Curtin University press release, the fact that the entire world is dominated by a single landmass would drastically alter the Earth’s ecosystem and environment.
“Earth as we know it will be drastically different when Amasia forms. Sea levels are expected to be lower, and the vast interior of the supercontinent will be very arid, with high daily temperature ranges,” said co-author Zheng-Xiang Li, Curtin Distinguished Professor.
“Currently, the Earth is made up of seven continents with very different ecosystems and human cultures, so it would be fascinating to think about what the world could look like in 200 or 300 million years“, he added.
Theories about the future of the continents
Despite the team’s simulation results in Australia, scientists are still trying to understand the cycle of Earth’s supercontinents, driven by heat and gravity.
Among other theories about the future of the continents, there is the formation of a supercontinent called Novopangaea, in the Americas they collide with Antarctica before colliding with Eurasia and Africa. This cuts across the Pacific in a different way, but with similar results, explains Science Alert.
In another supercontinent setting, called Auriccontinues the scientific media, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans are definitively closed and a new oceanic basin emerges in their place.
Although there is no final answer yet, and it may never come, it is clear that the Earth and its oceans will not always be, just as they have not been in the past, as we know it now.
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