The next terrestrial supercontinent Amasia will form around the North Pole in 300 million years
A new model predicts that the Pacific Ocean will disappear in 300 million years, bringing the continents together to form a new supercontinent called Amasia located around the North Pole.
The simulation was conducted by a team of researchers led by Australia’s Curtin University, which highlights that the Pacific Ocean is the oldest and began to shrink when dinosaurs roamed the Earth – it is currently losing a few centimeters per year.
The model shows Asia moving east towards the Americas, which are pulled west until the three continents meet like a perfect puzzle piece. Antarctica eventually finds its way to South America, Africa attaches to Asia on one side and Europe on the other to complete Amasia.
The analysis could be relevant, as evidence shows that a new supercontinent formed every 600 million years and the last was Pangea which formed 300 million years ago.
The simulation predicts that the Pacific Ocean will disappear, which will cause a continuous movement towards each other around the North Pole
The first supercontinent, thought to be Vaalbara, formed 3.3 billion years ago and was followed by Ur 300 million years later.
Ur, however, is widely accepted as the first supercontinent due to stronger evidence showing its existence – not much is known about Vaalbara.
Kenorland was next when it formed 2.7 billion years ago and is believed to have been made up of smaller cratons, which are large, stable blocks of earth’s crust forming the core of a continent.
And then came Colombia, which was formed by colossal collisions 1.8 billion years ago.
This supercontinent was made up of the proto-cratons that previously made up Laurentia, the Baltic, the Ukrainian and Amazon Shields, Australia and even Siberia, North China and the Kalaharia.
Asia moves east towards the Americas, which are pulled west until they all meet like a jigsaw piece. Antarctica eventually finds its way to South America, Africa attaches to Asia on one side and Europe on the other to complete Amasia
While Columbia began to separate over a few hundred million years, they then reunited about a billion years ago to form Rodinia and it ruled the world for the next 350 million years .
Pannotia came next, forming around 600 million years ago and lasting around 550 million years before splitting into Laurentia, Siberia and the Baltic with the main landmass of Gondwana to the south.
Then the famous Pangea appeared 300 million years ago.
This great mass began to break up about 200 million years ago, at the start of the Jurassic, eventually forming the modern continents and the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
And the next supercontinent will be Amasia.
Lead author Dr Chuan Huang said in a statement: ‘The resulting new supercontinent has already been named Amasia because some believe that the Pacific Ocean will close (as opposed to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans) when America collides with Asia.
History shows that a new supercontinent forms every 600 million years and the last was Pangea which formed 300 million years ago
“Australia is also expected to play a role in this important land event, first colliding with Asia and then connecting America and Asia once the Pacific Ocean closes.”
The Pacific Ocean formed about 700 million years ago when Rodinia began to break up, making it the oldest ocean in the group.
However, it is also decreasing by 0.19 square miles per year due to shifting plate tectonics beneath the seafloor.
Co-author John Curtin, Distinguished Professor Zheng-Xiang Li, also of the Curtin School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said that the domination of the entire world by a single landmass would dramatically alter the ecosystem and the environment of the Earth.
“Earth as we know it will look dramatically 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,” Li said.
“Currently, the Earth consists of seven continents with very different ecosystems and human cultures, so it would be fascinating to think about what the world might look like in 200 to 300 million years.”