Presenting - 'Amasia', The Next Supercontinent!

By Meera Dolasia on October 18, 2012

CCSS NAS-4 NCSS-2 Word Search

Ever since Earth has been in existence there have been the formation and breaking apart of many supercontinents - While Pangaea, that existed between 150-300 million years ago is the most well-known, prior to that was Nuna (1.8 billion years ago), Rodina (1 billion years ago) and many more that cannot be verified because 2 billion year-old rocks containing evidence of magnetic fields, are hard to find.

And while most scientists are in agreement that Rodina, Nuna and Pangaea did exist, there is very little consensus on the continents they comprised of - Some experts believe that they were the same ones, while others think that the wandering landmasses reassembled on the opposite sides each time - about 180° away from where the previous supercontinent had come together. 

Now, a group of geologists led by Yale University graduate student Ross Mitchell have a new theory - They think that each supercontinent came together about 90° from its predecessor. That is, the geographic center of Rodina was about 88° away from the center of Nuna, whilst the center of Panagea, believed to have been located near modern-day Africa, was about 88° away from the center from its super giant predecessor, Rodina.

These calculations that were reported earlier this year were based not only on the paleolatitude (The latitude of a place at some time in the past, measured relative to the earth's magnetic poles in the same period) of the ancient supercontinents, but also, for the first time the paleolongitude, that Ross measured by estimating how the locations of the Earth's magnetic poles have changed through time.

While the theory is interesting, what is even more so is that the team has also come up with a model of the next supercontinent. If their estimates are accurate, over the next few hundred million years, the tectonic plates under the Americas and Asia will both drift northward and merge. This means that modern day North and South America will come together and become one giant landmass, displacing the Caribbean Sea completely. A similar movement in Eurasia (Australia and South Eastern Asia) will cause the Arctic Ocean to disappear causing the continents to fuse with Canada. The result? A ginormous continent that they call 'Amasia'. The one thing that is not too clear is if Antarctica will be part of this or just be left stranded.

While many researchers believe that the Yale team's theory is quite feasible, nobody will ever know for sure - Because unfortunately, none of us are going to be around few 100 million years from now - But it's sure fun to envision the new world, isn't it?


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