Feeds

Coming to a continent near you: America

Also Asia, Europe and Africa

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.