How Earth’s next supercontinent will form
Researchers suggest the next predicted supercontinent, dubbed “Amasia,” may form when the Americas and Asia both drift northward to merge, closing off the Arctic Ocean, the report said.
Supercontinents are giant landmasses made up of more than one continental core. The best-known supercontinent, “Pangaea,” was once the world's only continent — it was on it that the dinosaurs arose — and was the progenitor of today's continents, according to livescience.com.
Conventional models of how supercontinents evolve suggest they form on top of the previous supercontinent, known as introversion, or on the opposite side of the world from that supercontinent, known as extroversion. Under these models Amasia would therefore either form where Pangaea once was, with the Americas meeting with Asia to close off the Atlantic Ocean, or form on the other side of the planet from where Pangaea was, with the Americas merging with Asia to close off the Pacific Ocean, the report said.
Now, geologists suggest that Amasia might emerge sideways from where Pangaea once existed, in what is now the Arctic, a process known as orthoversion, it said. Moreover, this new model seems consistent with models of how past supercontinents formed, said researcher Ross Mitchell, a geologist at Yale University.