Amasia Supercontinent: Earth's Geologic Past Shapes Our Understanding Of Future (VIDEO)

10/15/2012 07:49 am ET
  • Cara Santa Maria Science correspondent, Huffington Post; editor, Talk Nerdy to Me

Do you remember learning about Pangaea in school? It was the last great supercontinent, and it existed from about 300-200 million years ago. I remember doing a "geography fair" project on Pangaea in the fifth grade (and taking home a blue ribbon). I think that's the last I ever thought about continental drift, to be completely honest.

So when I read about a new supercontinent, Amasia, that's theorized to form sometime in the next 50-200 million years, my ears perked up. I suppose it never occurred to me that the continents are still drifting and will continue to do so in the future.

The theory of plate tectonics--a description of large-scale movements of the Earth's crust--is relatively modern, having come into the public consciousness as late as the 1960s. Today, scientists are applying their understanding of continental drift (via plate tectonics) not only to reconstructions of the continents of ancient Earth, but to predictions of future Earth.

I spoke with Ross Mitchell, a graduate student at Yale University, about his new model for the next great supercontinent, Amasia. To learn more, watch the video above or click the link below. And don't forget to leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Come on, talk nerdy to me!

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