Move over Pangaea, your days as Earth’s most famous supercontinent may be coming to an end—in about 100 million years. That’s the theory put forth by Ross Mitchell, a geologist at Yale University, in a new study published in the journal Nature.
In the early 1900s Alfred Wegener famously proposed the idea that Earth’s tectonic plates are slowly moving around the planet. About 300 million years ago a single landmass, or supercontinent, called Pangaea was centered on the present-day location of West Africa. As the plates continued their slow drift, Pangaea broke apart and formed the continents and oceans we know today.
Mitchell’s research involving the magnetic orientation in ancient rocks led him to conclude that the continents are slowly moving northward and will eventually form a supercontinent centered on the Arctic. According to Mitchell, this tectonic plate movement will fuse the Americas and Eurasia, forming a new supercontinent called Amasia.
Mitchell discussed his research and supercontinent modeling on the February 9, 2012, Nature Podcast.
‘Amasia’: The Next Supercontinent? from All Things Considered on National Public Radio