Home North pole ice Earth will once again become a great supercontinent

Earth will once again become a great supercontinent

  • Geoscientists say Earth will be home to a massive supercontinent in about 200 million years; there are four major versions of this mega-continent.
  • The climate can be surprisingly mild in one of the more popular versions, but there is also the potential for an ice age.
  • In the event that a post-human species survives, it may need to be in a state of equilibrium with the natural ecosystem.

    Pangea (or Pangea), the massive landmass that united all seven continents into one massive continent during Earth’s prehistory, broke apart around 200 million years ago. In a fascinating twist in Earth’s evolution, it turns out that we’re about 200 million years away from the formation of a new supercontinent similar to Pangeasay the scientists.

    There are four dominant versions of the evolution of this supercontinent, according to a research paper published in Geological Magazine in 2018.

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    In the first scenario, we assume that the Atlantic Ocean continues to open, while the Pacific Ocean continues to close. The Pacific Ocean, on the other hand, is full of subduction zones, or places where oceanic plates sink into continental plates and then into the Earth’s mantle. (This is also why 80 percent large earthquakes occur on the edges of the Pacific Ocean, also known as the “Ring of Fire”.)

    As a result of this tectonic activity, the Americas continue to separate from Europe and Africa, which means they eventually slam into Antarctica heading north, and eventually Africa, Europe and Asia, which will have already been crowded. During this time, Australia will have docked in East Asia. The result is a huge mega-continent called “Novopangea” (Greco-Latin for “New Pangea”).

    In the “Pangea Proxima” (or “next Pangea”) scenario, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean continue to expand until new subduction zones pull the continents back, causing Eurasia to collide with the rest of the continents. To visualize the end result, imagine a ring-shaped landmass with a small ocean basin at its center.

    The Pacific and the Atlantic are really old – a huge 200 million and 180 million years, respectively. What if they both close? In this case, the supercontinent of “Auric(a portmanteau of “Australia” and “America”) was born.

    “We assume there are only two oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific. But on Earth you have more options, like the Indian Ocean,” says Joao C. Duarte, assistant professor of tectonics at the University of Lisbon in Portugal, who is also the creator of the Aurica hypothesis. “It’s possible to close both the Atlantic and the Pacific, because they’re both very old right now,” Duarte said. Popular mechanics. All you need is a third ocean. It’s already there and it’s the Indian Ocean, the youngest of the group, “only” about 140 million years. Thus, if the Indian Ocean opens in the future and the Pacific and the Atlantic close, the seven continents will become a single great auric around the equator.

    To finish, the “Amasia” (a portmanteau of “Americas” and “Asia”) the theory speculates that the Atlantic and Pacific will remain open, while the Arctic Ocean will close. In this case, all continents except Antarctica will begin to move north and settle near the North Pole. “You end up with just a huge ocean around the North Pole and Antarctica on the other side,” says Duarte.

    “Once continents reach supercontinent status, carbon dioxide emissions from volcanic activity are a major uncertainty.”

    In research published in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems in July 2021, researchers used 3D global climate models to simulate the impact of Earth’s Aurica and Amasia arrangements on our climate. If you’re a fan of Netflix’s post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller series snowdrops, in which the entire world is frozen except for a train called Snowpiercer that endlessly circles the Earth, rejoice. If the Amasia scenario overshadows the others, and all landmasses around the North and South Poles, the lack of land in between will disrupt the ocean conveyor belt, a constantly moving ocean circulation system that transports heat from the equator to the poles, making the poles not only colder, but covered in ice all year round. “All that ice would reflect heat back into space,” Michael Way, a physicist from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, who led the July 2021 study, says Popular mechanics.

    Aurica, on the other hand, could turn out to be a surfer’s paradise. “This supercontinent will be near the equator, so it will likely be a bit warmer and possibly drier than Earth today,” says Duarte, who thinks Aurica is the most likely supercontinent scenario. and Amasia the least likely. A warmer Earth (by three degrees Celsius, according to their models) could lead to a proliferation of Brazilian-style coastlines, with beautiful white sand beaches, enchanting coral reefs and sand dune complexes, but also strong ocean currents .

    There is a catch, however. A glacial Amasia would wipe out nearly all life on Earth, sparing only life in the ocean…water world, no one? But that doesn’t mean the gentler Aurica won’t be cruel to many species. “Many species will face fierce competition and fight for survival as continents come together. We should expect mass extinctions,” says Duarte.

    For Alex Pullen, an assistant professor of environmental engineering and earth sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina, we encounter some challenges when we try to look this far into the future. For starters, we have no idea what vegetation will look like in 200 million years. “Plants have a profound impact on atmospheric chemistry, precipitation, clouds, and albedo (which is the fraction of light a surface reflects),” says Pullen Popular mechanics. “Additionally, once continents reach supercontinent status, carbon dioxide emissions from volcanic activity are a major uncertainty.”

    Also, we have no idea what greenhouse gases will look like in the future, nor do we know how ocean and atmospheric circulation around Aurica and Amasia would impact these greenhouse gases,” continues Pullen. “No aerosols (microscopic solid or liquid particles suspended in the air or as a gas) were also included in the models, which are profoundly important for the climate,” he says.

    But Way knows there’s a whole host of things beyond our forecast, given the way we’re abusing the planet. “We can’t quite understand how climate change or the filling of the oceans with pollution and plastic is going to affect the planet,” he says. He is pessimistic about humans, but not about the planet. “For most of the last four billion years, our planet has experienced fairly temperate conditions on its surface, except for a few small periods of time. We don’t fully understand how the planet has handled this. is amazing, isn’t it?” he says. “The planet will probably recover from the abuse we have inflicted on it.”

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    Perhaps humans will also survive, but in a more evolved way. Beware, we have been conditioned to believe that evolution is directional.

    “We believe that evolution is always in the direction of improvement. “Yes, we are very smart,” we say, says Duarte. “Maybe in the future there will be superintelligence, but that’s assuming intelligence is always a good thing,” Duarte continues. There are theories that intelligent species come with a baggage of self-destruction. “We have the ability to create nuclear weapons that can kill all of humanity,” Duarte said, referring to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war. For a post-human species to survive 50 to 250 million years from now, you need more than intelligence: you need to live in harmony with the surrounding ecosystem, says Duarte.

    In any case, these changes will not happen in our lifetime, or in the lifetime of our grandchildren, or even in the lifetime of 1,000 grandchildren, as Way puts it. They are already happening though. You don’t feel it, but everything changes, constantly, subtly, imperceptibly.

    “We have mountain constructions on Earth. We have new islands being generated in the Pacific by volcanism… The plates are still moving on the planet and there is a Richter-6 earthquake every day somewhere on the planet,” says Way. We’re probably halfway through a major planetary transition, and we don’t even know it.

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