A Yale study has predicted the formation of a new supercontinent called Amasia in 50 to 200 million years, through the collision of the Americas and Eurasia.
Called orthoversion, the theory was proposed in a paper published today in the journal Nature. Orthoversion describes a phenomenon whereby each new supercontinent takes shape 90 degrees from the geographic center of its predecessor, eventually replacing it.
Previous theories on supercontinent formation – extroversion and introversion – predict that supercontinents assemble either 0 or 180 degrees from the geographic center.
For example, these existing theories predict that the Atlantic Ocean will disappear and the next supercontinent will form at the same center (present-day Africa), or, alternately, on the opposite side of the globe.
By studying the magnetism of ancient rocks, the team observed that the axes of supercontinents to date were located 90 degrees away from their immediate predecessors, making orthoversion a better predictor of the next supercontinent’s center.
Pangea, the most recent supercontinent to form, is believed to have occurred 300 million years ago, with Africa located at its center. Its fragmentation also gave rise to the seven continents the world’s population lives in today.
The researchers speculate that the center of Amasia could be occupied by Asia or North America, with a mountain range that bridges the two.
What about that whole theory that the world was going to end?