Earth's newest supercontinent is taking shape: Land masses are already drifting together to form 'Amasia'

  • Peter Spinks from the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Amasia
  • Within 200 million years, he said the new supercontinent will form
  • One researcher recently travelled to Nepal to gather further information
  • He spotted that India, Eurasia and other plates are slowly moving together

The earthquake disaster in Nepal has highlighted how Earth's land masses are already in the process of forming a new supercontinent.
That's according to one researcher who travelled to the country to study how the Indian and Eurasian plates are moving together.
And using new techniques, researchers can now start examining the changes due to take place over the next tens of millions of years like never before.

Earth's continents are slowly moving together (left), and in 50 to 200 million years they are expected to form a new supercontinent called Amasia (right). In 2012 a study suggested this may be centered on the North Pole. Recent evidence is revealing how this will compare to the ancient supercontinents Rodinia and Pangaea
Earth's continents are slowly moving together (left), and in 50 to 200 million years they are expected to form a new supercontinent called Amasia (right). In 2012 a study suggested this may be centered on the North Pole. Recent evidence is revealing how this will compare to the ancient supercontinents Rodinia and Pangaea

The idea that Earth is set to form a new supercontinent - dubbed Amasia - is not new.
But, as reported by Peter Spinks from the Sydney Morning Herald, Curtin University geologist Dr Zheng-Xiang Li travelled to Nepal to study the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates.

 

WHAT IS AMASIA?  

The idea that Earth is set to form a new supercontinent - dubbed Amasia - is not new.
But new techniques are allowing experts to study the changes in unprececdented ways. 
Where exactly this supercontinent will form, however, has been the cause of some debate.
While some had suspected it would be centered around Africa, a study by Yale University in 2012 suggested that the North Pole would actually be the centre point.
North and South America will crunch together, with the Caribbean Sea and Arctic Ocean disappearing, while Asia will join the Americas, according to the study.
They said the changes would occur in 50 to 200 million years.


Despite already being attached to Eurasia, the Indian plate is continuing to move North at a few centimetres per year - causing tectonic activity.
But other continents are also moving towards each other.
The Pacific Ocean is narrowing at a few centimetres per year, which will ultimately cause America to collide with Eurasia, while Australia is also moving towards Asia by 2.8 inches (7cm) a year and will join Amasia.

‘It would take at least tens of millions more years - perhaps several hundred million years - before the new supercontinent is fully formed,’ Dr Li told the SMH.
Using new techniques - namely high-resolution seismic tomography, geographical information systems and increased computing power - scientists are able to track these changes in unprecedented ways. 
For example, they can compare them to previous supercontinents Rodinia and Pangaea, which formed one billion and 300 million years ago respectively.

‘These advances have allowed us to link present-day plate tectonics on Earth's surface to dynamic processes deep in the mantle - and to link these to ancient records of geology,’ Dr Li said.

Many of Earth's land masses are continuing to move into each other. The Pacific Ocean is narrowing at a few centimetres per year, which will ultimately cause America to collide with Eurasia, while Australia is also moving towards Asia by 2.8 inches (7cm) a year and will join Amasia
Many of Earth's land masses are continuing to move into each other. The Pacific Ocean is narrowing at a few centimetres per year, which will ultimately cause America to collide with Eurasia, while Australia is also moving towards Asia by 2.8 inches (7cm) a year and will join Amasia

This map shows how Nepal is situated near the border of India and Asia, where two tectonic plates are moving into one another. The Indian plate is continuing to move North at a few centimetres per year - causing tectonic activity, which in turn can lead to tremors and devastating earthquakes
This map shows how Nepal is situated near the border of India and Asia, where two tectonic plates are moving into one another. The Indian plate is continuing to move North at a few centimetres per year - causing tectonic activity, which in turn can lead to tremors and devastating earthquakes

NEPAL QUAKE: EIGHT MILLION COULD BE AFFECTED 

The UN says 8 million people have been affected by the weekend earthquake in Nepal that killed nearly 4,400 people and 1.4 million people are in need of food assistance. 
Jamie McGoldrick, UN resident coordinator in Kathmandu, told reporters that of those affected two million people are in the 11 worst-hit districts. 
The challenge of supplying to small villages at high altitudes and in rough terrain "is quite significant, he said.
After flying by helicopter over Dhulikhel town, on the north side of the Kathmandu valley, he estimated about 40% of the houses were damaged, but destruction was erratic.


Where exactly this supercontinent will form, however, has been the cause of some debate.
While some had suspected it would be centered around Africa, a study by Yale University in 2012 suggested that the North Pole would actually be the centre point.
North and South America will crunch together, with the Caribbean Sea and Arctic Ocean disappearing, while Asia will join the Americas, according to the study.
They said the changes would occur in 50 to 200 million years.
The most recent supercontinent, Pangea (which is Greek for ‘All Lands’), formed about 300 million years ago with Africa at its centre.
It began breaking apart into the seven continents of today with the birth of the Atlantic Ocean about 100 million years later.

Researchers said the earthquake in Nepal highlighted how dangerous shifting tectonic plates can be. Pictured, Nepalese people walk among the debris of houses after the quake in Bhaktapur. The death toll in Nepal following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake is continuing to rise and could hit 10,000
Researchers said the earthquake in Nepal highlighted how dangerous shifting tectonic plates can be. Pictured, Nepalese people walk among the debris of houses after the quake in Bhaktapur. The death toll in Nepal following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake is continuing to rise and could hit 10,000

This series of graphics shows how our land masses have separated from Pangaea into the distinct continents we have today. Using new techniques - namely high-resolution seismic tomography, geographical information systems and increased computing power - scientists are tracking the changes in better detail
This series of graphics shows how our land masses have separated from Pangaea into the distinct continents we have today. Using new techniques - namely high-resolution seismic tomography, geographical information systems and increased computing power - scientists are tracking the changes in better detail

Researchers believe Pangea is the third or fourth supercontinent in Earth’s history. 
Its immediate predecessors were Rodinia - which formed around 1 billion years ago - and Nuna, which formed 1.8 billion years ago.
The idea of continental drift was introduced by German scientist Alfred Wegener in 1912 to explain how the shape of Earth’s countries looked suspiciously like jigsaw pieces that would fit together.
The Earth’s surface is formed from seven major and several minor tectonic plates that wander around at speeds varying from a few millimetres to two centimetres a year, the same pace that a human nail grows.
It’s the friction caused by plates grinding against each other that causes earthquakes.

 



Is there an “Alien Base” on the Dark Side of the Moon?
LUNA: The Alien base on the far side of the Moon.
It was seen and filmed by the Apollo astronauts. A base, a mining operation using very large machines, and the very large alien craft described in sighting reports as mother ships exist there. -Milton Cooper




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