Feeds

Coming to a continent near you: America

Also Asia, Europe and Africa

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?