Asian, American continents about to collide (in 50 million years or so)
A team of Yale geologists predict that Asia and the Americas will smash into each other, forming a new supercontinent dubbed 'Amasia.'
Continents are ancient puzzle pieces. It's easy to mentally reassemble the prehistoric supercontinent Pangea when we note how snugly South America fits along Africa's shore. But scientists have long debated exactly how this process unfolds, over hundreds of millions of years. The answer will allow them to predict what future supercontinents may look like.
Ross Mitchell, a geologist at Yale University, and his colleagues have recently proposed an new model of how supercontinents form. By measuring the ancient magnetism of geological samples, researchers speculate that the next supercontinent, which geologists call 'Amasia', will not form on the equator, but around the North Pole.
Traditionally, there have been two competing theories on how supercontinents form. The first, known as extroversion, states that Pangea fissured into continents (like North America), separated, and will someday form a new supercontinent – Amasia – on the other side of the world. The other model, called introversion, predicts that the continents will slow their drift and then collapse back together around the same area that Pangea originally formed.