Feeds

Coming to a continent near you: America

Also Asia, Europe and Africa

High performance access to file storage

It’s going to be a heck of a reunion: the Pangea supercontinent that broke up to create the atlas we know today will one day reform in the Northern hemisphere.

That’s the conclusion reached by researchers at Yale University who, instead of looking at the past history of continental movements, have turned their attention to the future.

It’s a difficult prediction to test, however: their estimate of the time it’s going to take for today’s continents to collide with each other and form what they call “Amasia” is around a hundred million years (with a pretty big error bar – somewhere between 50 million and 200 million).

Their work, published in Nature, proposes a process called orthoversion, in which new supercontinents form 90 degrees from the geographic centre of their ancient predecessors. If they’re correct, the Arctic Ocean and Caribbean Sea of today’s Earth will disappear, pushed aside as North and South America migrate northwards, fuse, and collide with Europe and Asia.

Alaska and the Asian end of Russia will get friendly again – goodbye to the Bering Strait. Australia and India, separated a long time in the past, will tuck up underneath today’s Asian continent, with Africa likely to turn the Mediterranean into a narrows rather than a sea.

The researchers, led by Yale doctoral student Ross Mitchell, places the Americas and Eurasia more-or-less at the North Pole when the new supercontinent forms.

The new theory contradicts current models of supercontinent formation, which suggests that new supercontinents form either at 0 or 180 degrees to their predecessors (referred to as introversion or extroversion). These theories suggest the new supercontinent would form either by today’s continents squeezing out the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific.

Their prediction is based on the magnetism of ancient rocks, which suggests supercontinents underwent “a series of back-and-forth rotations around a stable axis along the equator”. These axes were offset not by the 0 or 180 degrees proposed in prior theories, but by 90 degrees.

Mitchell’s orthoversion model suggests that the new supercontinent will be centred around either Asia or North America, in a spot now occupied by the Arctic Ocean, and stitched together by a new mountain range. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.