Amasia – The Earth’s New Supercontinent
The theory of plate tectonics proves that the Earth’s continents swim on plates and are constantly in motion. During the geologic history of the Earth they have crashed together a few times. Modern research shows that this will happen again within the next 150 million years. Land masses travel at a speed of only a few millimeters to two centimeters every year.
Predictions show that the next big supercontinent could form over the North Pole as America and Asia drift together.
The last time there was such a large continent was about 300 million years ago. Pangaea was a vast landmass on which dinosaurs roamed. Its center was Africa and about 150 million years ago it broke apart into several plates that drifted away from each other. Scientists think that during the course of the Earth’s history, which goes back 4.5 billion years, there have been at least three such supercontinents.
According to computer models the Americas and Asia seem to be drifting to the north and will meet somewhere over the North Pole. The Arctic Sea will be gone and the Caribbean Sea will also disappear. Such a landmass, called Amasia, would take up most of the northern hemisphere and then slowly move southwards towards the equator. While Australia is also moving north and will presumably collide with East Asia to join the supercontinent, Antarctica may remain isolated over the South Pole.
Scientists can find out how such continents have moved during billions of years by analyzing magnetic rocks. Findings show how far away landmasses have been from the Earth’s magnetic poles during the course of history.
- according to = as shown by…
- analyze = examine, study
- billion = a thousand million
- Caribbean Sea = sea between Central, North and South America
- collide = crash
- constantly = always
- disappear = go away
- drift = move , float
- finding = result
- hemisphere = half of the world
- join = meet
- land masses = continents
- magnetic pole = one of the two points that are near the North and South Poles of the Earth. They are not fixed but move around and the needle of a compass points to them
- motion = moving
- plate tectonics = the study of how large sheets of rock move on the Earth’s surface
- predict = to say how and why something will happen in the future
- presumably = probably
- prove = show
- remain = stay
- research = to study something in order to find out new facts about it
- roam = wander around
- scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a laboratory
- several = many
- speed = how fast something is
- vast = very big