On The Move

Whenever there is a big earthquake we are reminded that the continents are on the move and at a surprisingly fast rate. What we see now is the result of the break up of Pangea, but that is not where it all started. First there was Nuna which morphed into Rodinia prior to Pangea.

As Pangea broke up, our rafts drifted apart to where we work, play and fight today. The big question is where are we going now? One possibility is that the big break in Pangea could heal. This model is known as introversion and would mean Europe and Africa snuggling up to the Americas as the Atlantic trench closed up.

The more popular model is for the drift to keep going and for the Pacific to get squeezed out into the Indian and Atlantic as America joins up with China with Amasia as the new supercontinent. This model process is known as extroversion. (I guess Walmart and their colleagues would be able to reduce prices due to lower transport costs.)

In a letter to Nature this week, Mitchell, Kilian and Evans from Yale U have been busy measuring magnetism in old rocks in order to plot out the correct old routes of our land rafts (1). This work brings them to a new model that they call orthoversion as our route is off at a right angle to the previous ones. The Canadians will end up living in close proximity to the Russians.

In the end it seems we’ll all be living around the North Pole. Any oil left up there will end up very deep. The Australians and New Zealander will be heading north too and switching the Southern Cross for the Great Bear.
  1.  http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v482/n7384/full/nature10800.html  

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