The Pacific Ocean’s days are numbered according to a new supercomputer simulation of the Earth’s ever-moving tectonic plates.
The gospel? Our planet’s oldest ocean is still another 300 million years old. If Pacifica gets lucky, it might even celebrate its billionth birthday before finally slipping out of existence.
But researchers at Curtin University in Australia think the ocean will be swallowed up before that.
In the last years of its life, the Pacific will hardly match the vast expanse of blue that it is today. Every year the ocean recedes a few centimeters, as it did when the last ocean surrounded the supercontinent Pangaea.
This ocean is the ancient home of many subduction zones; places where tectonic plates collide and superimpose themselves on top of each other. Known colloquially in the Pacific as the “Ring of Fire,” these sites are almost like a bathtub drain for the ocean floor.
Every year the Pacific plate has slipped a few centimeters under the Eurasian and Indo-Australian plates, shrinking the distance between North America, Asia and Australia.
Not all scientists agree what the next supercontinent will look like or how it will form, but in many simulations, the Pacific Ocean is going to die.
While some studies suggest the Atlantic Ocean, which is expanding today, could shrink in the future, resulting in the supercontinent being surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, researchers at Curtin University disagree.
Instead of a second continent like Pangea (aka Pangea Proxima) forming They argue that this world is a * green the supercontinent, in which North America meets Asia, he names Amasia.
Poor Australia is exempt from this “cute couple” name, but in 4D geodynamic models, the Southern Hemisphere continent appears to play an important role in the linaments that have been left in the Pacific.
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Recent simulations by researchers in Australia are based on realistic plate and mantle parameters from the present and past, which are then used by a supercomputer to predict the future.
“Over the past two billion years, Earth’s continents have collided together as a supercontinent every 600 million years, known as the supercontinent cycle,” says Earth scientist and lead author, Chuan Huang.
“By simulating how the Earth’s tectonic plates are expected to evolve using supercomputers, we were able to demonstrate that it would take less than 300 million years for the Pacific Ocean to close, allowing the formation of Amasia to be debunked.” prior to any scientific techniques”.
Contrary to other supercontinent simulations, this novel suggests that the Pacific Ocean, and not the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea, will be destroyed when Amasia forms.
In the current model, Amasia occurs when the Pacific closes due to the weakening of the upper layer of the oceanic crust.
“Earth, as we know it, will be different when Amasia forms cunningly. The sea level is expected to be lower, and the vast interior of the supercontinent will be very dry with high daily temperature ranges,” says geoscientist Zheng-Xiang Li.
But this is the latest study in a long string of supercontinent simulations, all of which have attempted to predict what our planet will look like in the future.
One example is more unlikely to end the debate, but this is not the only one to predict the release of the Pacific.
In a scenario where a supercontinent called Neopangaea forms, the Americas collide with Antarctica before colliding into Eurasia and Africa. This occludes the Pacific in a different way, but with a similar result.
In another mission supercontinent, called Aurica, the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean are close to each other, and in their place a new lip of the ocean rises.
Whatever happens, one thing is certain: Earth and ocean will never be the same again.
A study in the National Science Review.
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