North Pole Said Center of Next Super-Continent, Amasia

on February 9, 2012 4:40 PM EST

Repeatedly the raft tectonics are bringing together all continental landmasses of the earth at one point forming a super-continent.
Repeatedly the raft tectonics are bringing together all continental landmasses of the earth at one point forming a super-continent. A map Of Earthquake Epicenters In The World - 358,214 events recorded between 1963 & 1998 forming a good picture of current tectonic plates. (Photo: flickr.com/BlatantWorld.com)

Pangea was the last global super-continent and is as such probably the most well known one as well. But now US scientist Ross Mitchell of Yale University, New Haven, is reporting where Amasia, the next super-continent will take shape.

Repeatedly the raft tectonics are bringing together all continental landmasses of the earth at one point forming a super-continent. A theory in geo-sciences predicts that this is to happen about every 500 million years forming a cycle of super-continents.

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Evidence for this cyclic behavior of the drifting continents was found just in recent decades and varying models for explaining the drift and predicting the location of past and future mega-landmasses have been discussed.

Rodinia, Nuna or Ur are three of these hypothetical super-continents once shaping our earth. Hypothetical, because their existence cannot yet be proven, but is rather the result of said models, which tried to explain, if these continents existed, how did they come about.

So far mostly two competing views were favored among scientists. Firstly the super-continents would form and and break apart always roughly on the same spot. Plate drift towards each other and form mountain ranges uniting as one big landmass and then breaking apart again heading away from each other until their momentum ceased and they would invert the direction of their movement again and form the next super-continent roughly at the same place the old one splintered before.

The second theory does not predict an inversion of the movement, but states it will continue until the continents would meet again on the other side of the globe. All this movement is fueled by the plate tectonics, which allow the earth to dissipate energy generated in its core. Hot convection currents turn around in the core of the earth forming convection cells at their interface with the colder mantle of the earth.

This mantle convection is moving continents, forming mountains, shaping seas or creating super-continents. The foundational data used by Mitchell and his team was found in paleomagnetic databases recording the earth magnetic field at the time of the formation of the respective rock sample. In his article Mitchell showed past super-continents seem to have stayed firmly on one position during their formation, but the different super-continents have appeared regularly in a 90 degrees angle to the previous one.

Now looking at current Africa, the former center of Pangea the Yale scientists see evidence that the Caribbean and the Arctic Sea indeed are shrinking forming first a common American continent and secondly letting this Pan America and Eurasia hit each other roughly at the position of the North pole. This future super-continent was dubbed Amasia by the team and already in 50-200 million years one could see this happen.

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