The last supercontinent – Pangea – broke up less than 200 million years ago. Successive landmasses separated from each other for millions of years, ultimately creating the Americas, Eurasia, Africa, Australia and Antarctica. However, the supercontinent cycle does not stop, and the continents are constantly moving apart or closer to each other. By observing the movement of tectonic plates, scientists are able to predict what the Earth will look like in the distant future.
The future looks pessimistic. A new supercontinent not for humans
The leading concept today is the creation of a new, gigantic supercontinent called Pangea Proxima (or Pangea Ultima). The new land is expected to be created in approximately 250 million years, when – as a result of the movement of tectonic plates – the Atlantic Ocean will close and Eurasia and Africa will collide with the Americas. This land mass will then be joined by Australia and Antarctica. The new supercontinent will be shaped like a horseshoe and will be surrounded by a gigantic ocean that will occupy most of the planet.
A team of researchers led by scientists from the University of Bristol noted in a new paper published that the formation of a supercontinent will have a huge impact on the existence of life on Earth. Scientists believe that in 250 million years even 92 percent all land on Earth will be uninhabitable. And not only for humans, but for all mammals in general. All humanity – if it still exists – will receive the remaining 8 to 16 percent. land, i.e. a small piece of the entire planet.
According to scientists, the processes accompanying the collision of tectonic plates, primarily volcanism, will be responsible for the extinction of a large part of life on Earth. The huge amounts of carbon dioxide that will then enter the atmosphere will cause a gigantic greenhouse effect, which will heat up the already too warm planet even more. Worse still, the formation of a large supercontinent will result in vast areas of land being influenced by a continental climate characterized by extreme temperatures and extremely hot summers.
Average temperature on land? 55 degrees. People can’t stand this heat
Researchers’ calculations show that average temperatures will range from 35 to 40 degrees Celsius on the coast to 55 degrees inland. And we are not talking about the highest, but average temperatures. Only areas in the far north will have a slightly milder climate. Most of Pangea Ultima is therefore to be a sun-baked, desert and volcano-strewn land mass that will be unsuitable for mammalian habitation.
Europe will become part of a large supercontinent. There will be no room for us on it photo: University of Bristol / https://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2023/september/nature-geoscience-extreme-heat.html
Researchers believe that while mammals have adapted well to increasingly lower temperatures in the past, their tolerance for high temperatures remains rather poor. Exposure to excessive heat will eventually cause mammals to become extinct. “Widespread temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees Celsius and even greater daily extremes, combined with high levels of humidity, will ultimately seal our fate. Humans – like many other species – will become extinct due to the inability to release such amounts of heat through sweat to cool their bodies” – University Bristol.
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