Scientists at Australia’s Curtin University have shown what Earth’s next supercontinent, dubbed “Amazia,” could look like. According to the researchers, this huge landmass would form if the Pacific Ocean completely closed. It happens slowly and is completed within 200 million or 300 million years. The study was published in the journal Scientific National Science Review.
According to the leader of the study, Chuan Huang, a phenomenon known as the “supercontinent cycle” occurs every 600 million years. This occurs when Earth’s continents collide to form a supercontinent. “The present continents should come together again within a few hundred million years,” explained the researcher.
Scientists used a supercomputer to simulate how these collisions occur. “The new supercontinent was named Amasia because some believe that when the Americas collided with Asia — as opposed to the Atlantic and Indian oceans — the Pacific Ocean would close,” Huang said. “Australia is also expected to play a major role in this Earth event – first, colliding with Asia; Closing the Pacific Ocean connects America and Asia.
By simulating how the Earth’s tectonic plates should evolve, the scientist says, “we were able to show that within 300 million years, the Pacific Ocean could have closed, allowing Amazea to form.”
According to Zheng-Xiang Li, co-author of the study, when the entire world is dominated by a single continental mass, the planet’s ecosystem and environment will change dramatically. “Earth, as we know it, was quite different when Amazia formed,” he explained. “Sea levels are expected to be lower, and the vast interior of the supercontinent will be much drier, with higher daily temperatures.”
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