February 8th, 2012
01:14 PM ET

Americas, Asia will fuse to form 'Amasia'

You won't be alive to see the way the Earth looks in 100 million years, but as the name suggests, it would "amaze ya."

Amasia is what scientists are calling the supercontinent that they predict will form as the continents we know and love drift toward one another and collide, closing the Arctic Ocean and fusing around the North Pole. Antarctica may be left out as a loner, however, as Australia snuggles up to Asia between India and Japan.

While the northern coast of North America would form a mountain range, the United States' West Coast will probably be the edge of this supercontinent, geologist Ross Mitchell said.

In a study in the journal Nature, Mitchell and colleagues at Yale University propose a new theory of how and where this supercontinent will form.

It's been established that supercontinents tend to form and break apart in cycles. There have been at least three: Nuna (1.8 billion years ago), Rodinia (1 billion years ago) and Pangea (300 million years ago).

Between 50 and 200 million years from now, the next supercontinent, Amasia, will take shape, Mitchell said. And we're well halfway into the cycle of its formation; most of Asia has been created since the rifting of the last supercontinent, Pangea, he said.

Considering trends in mammalian evolution over the past 20 million years, individual species tend to last only about 2 million years, so there probably won't be any humans living on Amasia.

"None of us will be around 100 million years from now to be able to test these supercontinent models, but it’s nonetheless interesting to think about how humanity fits in this larger tectonic dance," Mitchell said.

Why do supercontinents form?

Continents and oceans as we know them are not permanent. Instead, continents drift across the surface of the Earth, and oceans aren't stable. German geophysicist Alfred Wegener proposed this idea about a century ago, and it gained further credence in the second part of the 20th century as scientists began to study plate tectonics. Basically, underneath us, there are solid slabs of rock called plates, and they move in different directions because of convection currents.

Earthquakes result from plates rubbing against one another. The Ring of Fire, a region we know today where most earthquakes happen and volcanoes lie, marks the edge of the previous supercontinent, Pangea, and is about 90 degrees away from it. The seismic activity of the Ring of Fire will result in the formation of Amasia.

Geologists say that when Pangea broke apart, new oceans were created, and more ocean in one part of the world means there's less somewhere else. "This is why, all around the Pacific, the ocean floor is being sucked back down into the planet in a process called subduction," writes Ted Nield in the book "Supercontinent."

But exactly why supercontinents break up after they form remains a mystery, Mitchell said.

How supercontinents form

Before Mitchell's study, there have been two theories about the next supercontinent, extroversion and introversion, although they don't have much to do with its personality.

Proponents of extroversion believe the continents will drift away from a supercontinent and eventually scoot around to the opposite side of the globe, 180 degrees from where the old one was.

Introversion is a little simpler, stating that the next supercontinent would form where the last one did.

But Mitchell's group argues that Amasia will be 90 degrees away from Pangea was. The Yale researchers used as the basis of their analysis insights from minerals from ancient rocks, which reflect the Earth's magnetic field. Geologists are able to infer how a continent moves through time with respect to the North Magnetic Pole based on that.

The introversion and extroversion models provided a set of testable predictions for supercontinents of the past but could not really give estimates for the future, said Peter Cawood, chairman of Earth Sciences at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and former president of the Geological Society of Australia.

Mitchell's study is important because it provides explanations for how we get from one supercontinent to another, Cawood said in an e-mail.

"In the past we have wondered if there is 'method in the madness' of continental reconstructions and the position of continents through time. If this paper is correct the answer is yes, there is indeed a method," Cawood said. And that method is "driven by processes deep within the Earth."

Amasia will take shape at the North Pole, and then, as it matures and heats up, it will drift down toward the equator and nestle there, Mitchell said.

"Understanding the past distribution of continents, either individually or when periodically amalgamated as supercontinents, is fundamental to understanding the history of the Earth," Cawood said. "Continents are the archive of Earth history – not just of the rocks themselves but of past climate, oceans, life, etc. And the distribution of the continents has an important influence on these features."

Cawood added: "Pity that it will take hundreds of millions of years to happen and we won’t be here to see it!"

Post by:
Filed under: On Earth
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. Amasia

    OMG my NAME is amasia

    May 18, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  2. James

    100 million years from now I would expect the human race live on another planet, something like tatooine from Star Wars or something like that. After all, we've already found more than 1000 exoplanets in our galactic region.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  3. 2dayn2morrow

    Science helps us understand the universe and religion our fear of the unknown. They are both helpful.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  4. Bartholomew

    forums which go over the identical matters? Thanks!

    February 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  5. Kevin E

    Deep down in your heart you really know God really does exist. Look around all creation! Every design has to have a designer. Every painting has to have a painter. The universe and the earth was not created by chance. But God created it! It was created by JESUS CHRIST. Jesus created the world and then lived in it when he put on human flesh, and then bore our sins upon him on the cross. And those that believe in him and follow him and REPENT will enter through the narrow gates of heaven for eternity! AMEN!!! :)

    February 9, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • WhatsamattaU

      Dude, what I know in my heart is that there's more that we still don't know than we do. Seems kind of arrogant of you to presume that your imaginary friend is responsible for all of nature's wonders, both on this planet and throughout the universe.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:45 am |
      • Patrick

        may you WhatsamattaU not to be dissapointed after death.

        February 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
      • StBelinda

        We will know what's going to happen when your end comes WhatsamattaU

        February 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
      • mac

        i know what you mean

        February 15, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • sunpacific

      All praise be to the Invisible Pink Unicorn! Hallowed be her Holy Hooves!

      February 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
      • ChaoticDreams

        Blasphemy! My invisible blue dragon will throw you into hell for that statement!

        February 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • timmy

      must be nice to talk in absolutes with no proof of what you are saying.

      February 10, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Bill B.

      I wish I had your faith my friend. Just to point out though, your argument contradicts itself. If everything around us, has a designer, and must have a designer, than God must have a designer as well. I will admit I am not very religious, but I do know that anything touched by man is tainted, thus religious texts and everything past down must be tainted as well. Proof being books left out of the bible, changes in translations, that sort of thing. Not sure how God plays into super continents, just thought i'd respond.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Natalia

      Really you don't know that. But I can see how you though of that so it does make sense in an imaginative way.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  6. MannyDanny44

    The amazing thing about science is that it reveals the truth of the universe and our own human place ly in it, which, it turns out, is statistically highly insignificant. Which is a bummer, but still VERY cool to realize that we're all riding on a huge, round ball, hurtling through space, orbiting around a life-giving sun, protected from the cold and radiation from space by a life-giving atmosphere. We humans have only been around for a few million years – have only been keeping records for a few THOUSAND – and will propbably be exinct in a few million more years. We're an abberration. Religion is fiction, though it gives us something to hold on to. Let's enjoy the ride while we're here. And appreciate the wonder of the ride we're all on.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Havildar

      Consider this every bit of matter no matter in what shape or form is still present today as it was at it's creation. The so called "human form" will given it's violent tendency to self destruct. Will go extinct from it's own hand. No need for any external body causing it's demise. Blaming everything that happens to it the plans of an invisible being is out of fear of the unknown. Everything recycles nothing is destroyed only it's form.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  7. George Bundy

    Why are people getting so excited about this ? Calm down ! You won't even be around.

    February 9, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  8. mecatfish

    Something to think about. Its called Sudden Crustal Displacement. Look it up. It explains why wooly mammoths in norther siberia that are 10,000 years old, frozen so fast that they have springtime flowers in their stomachs. They want us to believe continents drift slowly, when in reality then can shift, without warning for hundreds or thousands of miles in less than a day. Sudden Crustal Displacement.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • Obvi

      lol – I saw "The Day After Tomorrow" too but it was just a movie!

      February 9, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • SAALLLL33

      If you're not kidding you're a nincompoop.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • George Bundy

      Mmmm!!! Crustal Displacement ....

      February 9, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  9. Kevin E

    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

    And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

    And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:1-3)

    AMEN! Praise Jesus!!!

    February 9, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • God

      You know that's not real. Type it all you want, but you know, deep down in your heart that it's not true, it's just an old collection of stories, maybe some wisdom, but it's not real. The ones in the church would like you to believe it because without it, they have no power over you, but, I guess if you're simple minded enough to believe something soooo silly in the first place, then who cares if you ever come to your senses. Just don't spout that nonsense when people are actually trying to talk about something that's really happening.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:32 am |
      • n3kit

        Your're right, God is not real for you. He's right too, God is real for him. I go for God is real.

        February 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • timmy

      congratulations, you quote a book written by a bunch of fallible human beings, not god.

      February 10, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  10. Meekmok

    Why is there a continent named Pangea on the "Present day" map? Do CNN editors think Pangea exists today?

    February 9, 2012 at 6:30 am |
    • Jason Canty

      I Belive thats suposed to represent where Pangia was millions of years ago since the one of the theories of Super Continents are that they form 180 degrees ( on the other end of the planet) and the theory is they form right back from where they started. However current observations show that Ameri-Asia is currently forming 90degrees (in the middle at the north pole) The Pangia text (and yellow dots) are refrence points.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • George Bundy

      Please don't ask what people think. There really is no way of knowing unless they tell you.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:33 am |
      • Ted Bundy

        I think female geologists are hot. They make my tectonic plate shift.

        February 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • elandau

      Hi, yes I believe that is to represent the location of Pangea millions of years ago.

      Thanks for reading!
      Elizabeth Landau, CNN

      February 9, 2012 at 9:29 am |
      • Tracy Morgan

        Is Pangea a country near Botswana or that organ where my pangeatic cancer originated? I'm confused.

        Muchas gracias, hasta luego, domo arigato, sayonara,
        Not Barbara Walters, nor the lead singer of Alvin and the Hip Monks

        February 9, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • daksin

      Pangea does not exist today – it broke into Gondawanaland and Laurasia – these tho sub continents broke up again and collided with each other to form the present continents :)

      February 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  11. Bhogamon

    Better keep the collision insurance up to date, maybe add a little more.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:10 am |
  12. BigNutz

    WHAT!?!?! Impossible! God made the Earth perfect, so it doesn't have to change!!!!! Just like the moon. This is just them crazy scientists trying to convince us of that fandangled evo-new-lution!! Everyone knows the Earth looked exactly as it does today, 4000 years ago when it was created! Stupids.....

    February 9, 2012 at 6:08 am |
    • Obvi

      Those that are not confident in their belief systems tend to be angered by opposing view-points. I suggest you explore your anger as it may lead to enlightenment.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:20 am |
      • JMH

        That is one of the best rebuttles I have read. Congrats on a great response to someone who is obviously unsure of what to believe in.

        February 9, 2012 at 7:30 am |
      • timmy

        better to be unsure of what to believe in than believing in something so outrageous with zero proof and all speculation.

        February 10, 2012 at 11:04 am |
      • ChaoticDreams

        wow. clearly he is being sarcastic.

        February 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  13. Guest

    Is anything as we know it permanent?

    February 9, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • Buddha

      No.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  14. justmeanddog

    Perhaps by applying the underlying evolutionary logic of Plate tectonics to the evolution of our Universe as a whole we will begin to understand the underlying structure of it. If you were to visualize Matter as moving about in an Energy-dominated Space-Time much as the solid Continents move about the surface of a mostly molten Earth then it is easy to see Matter as being “sub-ducted” into Space-Time as some form of Energy only to be reborn again at a later date as Matter in a different location in Space-Time.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:48 am |
  15. teepee

    Boy! I can't wait to see that happen...

    February 9, 2012 at 5:39 am |
  16. alexk

    hope some red neck won't get the news or they will nuke asia before the invasion start!

    gosh, those chinese are good!

    February 9, 2012 at 5:12 am |
  17. SomeDude

    Better question is what would we look like 100 million years from now?

    February 9, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • gliese42

      A nuclear fallout will effect all humanity and those who survive may not look human at all but if we survived without any major war than the universe belong to us

      February 9, 2012 at 4:12 am |
  18. mrbaka

    I would say another 500 million years or so then the 2 continents will collide and become as one.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:54 am |
  19. Jer

    Pretty soon, we'll all be able to see Russia from our front porch!

    February 9, 2012 at 1:59 am |
  20. Huh

    Wow, someone has issues. How did you manage to turn an article about geology into a rant to cover up your inadequacies? Relax, old man. I'm sure the Chinese don't give a r a t's a r s e what you think of them. Did you lose your d e a d-end job or something? Blame your company and yourself, not a group of hard working people on the other side of the world who fight harder to earn a little taste of what you took for granted. If they're just a cheap copy of the American spirit, then what exactly does your bitter-loser mentality represent? America's future? If so then we're really doomed. Please tell me you're just trolling for attention.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Huh

      Oopsy. This was meant as a reply to WiseOldMan, three postings below.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:17 am |
      • Toby K.

        You seem to have more time on your hands than anyone else on here, by the copious amount of lengthy whiney posts you've added... It's a shame.. As for the hard working Chinese... you'd be hard working too if your only other choice was death.. Once their economy is better established, they'll want softer lives just like everyone else. Human nature transcends race, culture and religion.

        February 9, 2012 at 1:57 am |
      • Huh

        What can I say, I have a lot of free time tonight. I'm feeding the trolls, I can't help it. Don't pretend they don't like the attention, now. It's only human.

        February 9, 2012 at 2:15 am |
  21. Toby K.

    Before I read the article, I thought someone came out with a new Tetris game.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • alan jackson

      hey is that u mr. toby kieth long time its been how u doing

      February 9, 2012 at 1:27 am |
      • Toby K.

        I ain't as good as I once was... but I'm as good once, as I ever was.

        February 9, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  22. Ripples

    I bet John McCain will still be around to see it firsthand.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Toby K.

      And he still won't be able to get elected President.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  23. WiseOldMan

    Only reason China is on the rise is because of America's intuition, they have thrived of our ideas mocking and copying our style. The are a mere cheap copy of the American spirit. If America goes down bet your top dollar so will they. China is modern day slavery with a stickerprice on it. Don't let the media fool you, yes their house market may be on the rise but based on what? They are investing heavily on oil around the world including America's. If China was to say stand up as a super power i give them 100 years before their "power" lasts. LOL poor excuse for human kodak. And they are short too no one is scared of them can you imagine terrorism in China haha they won't know how to fight back like how America did. USA # 1

    February 9, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Will Hung

      Have you ever seen a kung fu film? They may be short, but they can fly, jump across tree tops, and do all sorts of crazy kicks. I'm moving to Israel so I can learn some Krav Maga... so maybe my kung fu will be better than theirs.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:48 am |
      • Toby K.

        That's why Americans own guns, kid. Jackie Chan and Jet Li are no match for Smith & Wesson. Heck, even heard Jackie Chan carries a pistol around with him – he's no fool.

        February 9, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • Dave

      What an incredibly ignorant and off-topic post.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • Vichan

      ... what.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Bourne

      I'm an American too, but what you said about China makes me feel disgusted about re tards like you that the US still keeps within their borders. A lot of our tech, food, ideas and culture are based off of European countries and other areas of the world as well. Good thing the majority doesn't think like you

      February 9, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  24. AtheisHuman

    I think we collided... all the Asian are already here! -_-

    February 9, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  25. shaggi

    HEY SCOOB, HOW BOUTA NICE AMASIA SANDWICH

    February 9, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  26. shaggi

    yikes!!!!!

    February 9, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  27. Randy

    I'm going to set my alarm clock so I'll be awake when it happens!

    February 9, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Tom

      A mathematical model developed at a local community college by philosophy students shows that it's going to happen on a Tuesday, around 6:15pm GMT.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  28. 100 million years from now

    I would not even worry about it. At the rate we are going with pollution, over population and killing the entire eco system it’s very possible Earth will be a dead planet by then.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • AtheisHuman

      Unfortunately Earth is already dead... and CPR is not working.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:45 am |
      • Josh

        Like the late great George Carlin said. The Earth will go on, we are f***ed but the Earth will be fine. Life will go on, we just won't be a part of it.

        February 9, 2012 at 1:42 am |
  29. Bill

    The way the US economy is going, it won't even take 100 years before the US is a part of China.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Tom

      Yesterday... I bought an American flag that was Made in China... I don't think we'll have to even wait 100 years.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Steve Thomas

      Bill, bravo, very funny!

      February 9, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  30. U Suk Kok

    I can't believe the amount of racist comments on this thread!

    February 9, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Will Hung

      You should check out the comments for CNN articles about welfare or hate crimes.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  31. immigrant.

    so asians will not need green cards any more. dang it

    February 8, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  32. Chedar

    The Buddha say everything is moving, living and dying. Nothing is permanent. Take a look deeper in string theory and you will know that things are in constant motion. Even the universe is in constant motion nothing is still. nothing is permanent.

    February 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Bill

      Yet doesn't that imply change is constant... which contradicts the idea that nothing is constant?

      February 9, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  33. ponderer

    Of course, this model does not take into account the several cometary impacts between now and then that will almost certainly reshape our landforms.

    February 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Mark C

      Cometary impacts do no such thing, half-wit.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:39 am |
  34. EEEEYYYAAAAAHHHHHHH

    OMG WE'RE GONNA CRASH!!! LOOOK OUTT!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  35. Grandpa RD

    Daaay afta day, mo people come to L.A.

    You betta get ready to tie up de boat in Idaho!

    Do you know de Swim? You betta learn quick Jim

    Dose dat don't know da Swim, Betta sing da hymn!

    EVERYBODY!

    February 8, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  36. Erika

    Does this mean we'll all be better at math? Does this mean we'll all get shorter? Do we have to eat kimchey 'cuz I hate that. Will those people still be late? Will they get better at driving or will we get worst? Do all the future humans get a hello kitty backpack?

    February 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Rob

      What about a 100 million don't you understand? By then this world will be dead.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
      • Erika

        Surely the Asians will invent something to keep remants of themselves, like a hello kitty bag that lasts 100 million years. what about ASIANS don't you understand? those people are smarrrt

        February 8, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • ShaMae

      I think it means we are all gettin a Tiger for a mama. Grrrrr. Fine by me just as long as I don't have to get stuck with a little asian dude for a hubby. One a them couldnt handle one a me. Plus, I like to fry up some chicken, but ya better leave my cat alone unless ya want ME scratchin your eyes out. The good Lord didnt put pets here on earth to be loved on then eaten.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Huh

      Uuu, ethnic jokes. Yaay! I guess you've never been to J a p a n, where everyone constantly apologizes for being late even when they show up 15 minutes early as always. They make even the G e r m a n s look inconsiderate.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
      • Huh

        And here's the funny thing about driving skills. Every time I visit Asia, it always seems like it's the funny western tourists who can't manage to drive even if their lives depend on it. I guess the joke's on us over there? Whoever sticks out the most, I guess.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
      • Toby K.

        That's because the Westerners can't really fit into those tiny little cars. Hard to drive right when your knees are up against your chest.. Hate having to look over and see the little guy next to you sitting on a phone book and still struggling to see over the wheel, while you're barely able to move around to find your iPhone without spilling your beer. God Bless America

        February 9, 2012 at 1:01 am |
      • Huh

        Really Toby? They sell the same cars worldwide nowadays, you know? Besides, China is the America of Asia...everything has to be big...big land, big road, big cars, big bridges. Quit making excuses for obesity. Tall Europeans fit just fine into much tinier cars in Europe than what's common in Asia. That's because they're tall and SLENDER. Let's face it, you're probably not tall, you're just big and wide.

        February 9, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  37. iBod

    What does it matter what we call it, though...Really.

    ...We'll all be dead lmao!!

    February 8, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  38. LouAz

    Oh crap. One more thing that Boehner and McConnel will blame on Pres Obama. Bohner hasn't finished writing his "OK to Stone Women" legislation, and this comes up. How can the Repub/TPers keep up with this streaking change in voting districts ?

    February 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Backatya

      Not unless Obama blames Bush first...

      February 8, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
      • Bill

        I heard that Ron Paul will stop all unnecessary geological processes if he's elected.

        February 9, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  39. Carlos

    You would think a school like Yale would come up with better animation than that. Looks like an old 80's failed arcade game.

    February 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Andrew

      God dammit, 3 damn researchers, and one was just the supervising professor! You're talking about two graduate students here, why on earth would they need to make fancy animations for a doctoral thesis? That misses the entire point! They're not going to have to stand up and defend the merits of their GUI, they're going to have to stand up and defend the merits of their models.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
      • Leo

        well said!

        February 8, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
      • Bill

        Granted that the science is more important than the art, but adding some colors would make it easier to follow the movements of the different land areas.

        February 9, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  40. josh

    when you eat too much, you come up with this type of story.

    February 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  41. iBod

    AmericAsia sounds a HELL! of a lot better than Amasia...

    February 8, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • iBod

      Or even better......
      Since Europe is obviously still attached to Asia, it really would be: EurAsiAmerica.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
      • Huh

        And don't forget Africa. It is also still attached to Asia (and in any case, Africa is on a collision course with Europe - bye bye Mediterranean Sea). So...AfrEurAsiAmerica?

        February 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
      • iBod

        True. True. Good point lol.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  42. Huh

    Why Amasia? Why not Asmerica? How Americentric!

    February 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  43. LouAz

    I had a Pangea once. The clutch started acting up, so I sold it.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  44. Andrew

    For everyone saying 'this is a waste of time and money', you rush to judgement without bothering to consider what this article is actually talking about.

    It's not some big government venture to study contential drift. It's not some big giant yale project consuming the majority of the geology department. Hell, it's not even some large venture taken on by some big shot on the yale faculty. No, this is a project done by 3 people.
    Taylor Kilian, Ross Mitchell and David Evans. Of them, Taylor Kilian and Ross Mitchell are both graduate students, and this appears to be Ross's thesis. David Evans has taken on Taylor and Ross as his postdocs, as well as some guy Joe Panzik not apparently associated with the paper, so like most profs, it's likely he was working on his own resarch. That means this effectivly is a study that makes it to CNN produced by two grad students, and not even a post-doc.

    ... You REALLY believe that this thesis then required vast amounts of resources? The most this cost is the amount of coffee that Taylor and Ross must have consumed while making their computer models. You can call it a 'waste of time' all you like, but they're clearly interested in geophysics, so quit being so bitter about two graduate students trying to get a doctorate in geophysics by publishing an article on a subject they find interesting. Unless your doctoral thesis rocked the world and changed it for the better, you've got little room to talk.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Andrew

      Correction, he took Ross and Taylor on as grad students, since I see Ross's CV has his doctorate 'anticipated', and can't even find Taylor's credentials, I'm going to go out on a limb that neither of the two are postdocs yet.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • LouAz

      Oh, so you mean this is just the outcome of a BOGSAT (Bunch Of Guys Sitting Around A Table) ? Is that all that is required to get a PHD at Yale ? No wonder their football team stinks.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
      • Andrew

        ... No, it's the result of two guys sitting at computers fiddling with computer models.

        That's how most data analysis tends to work. Long hours in front of computers mostly asking the question 'why is this program not doing what I want it to do'. Usually accompanied by lots and lots of debugging print statments. Now the actual physics background needed to first get to the analysis phase is a bunch of grad students sitting in a classroom mostly doing math problems. You generally won't find a different process regardless of the university, research like this tends to be very boring to watch in progress. Then again, Brian May's doctoral thesis (lead guitarist of queen/astrophysicist) apparently had him going to numerous observitories to collect data because the vast majority of data was obtained before the internet. He had to be physically present. Sure, he may have published quite recently, but the data was fairly old, so research was more interesting in those days.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
      • Ralf The Dog.

        LouAz, please see my comment below. Posted in the wrong place.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
      • LouAz

        Seems you have described the process of finding the data to fit your answer, so that you can ask the "right" question.
        Projecting any physical "science" 100M or 200M years has not even been attempted by good Science Fiction writers.
        It is so preposterous that it is unbelievable. Next, these guys are going to tell us that the moon has finally tuned to cheese, which is the real reason Marryin' Newt wants to open a business there.

        I really thought a PHD was supposed to contribute something unique to Society not just a WAG (Wild Ass Guess). This certainly cannot be considered as a SWAG (Scientific WAG) as it contributes nothing usefull or "testable". You sure this is not some "Creation Science" from the Yale Divinity School that somehow got their papers mixed with the Yale Geology Dept ?

        February 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
      • Huh

        Wow, I had no idea Brian May was also an accomplished astrophysicist! Thanks for that tidbit of trivia. I guess this explains why I've always thought he is the nerdiest looking famous guitarist. :-)

        February 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
      • Andrew

        LouAz that's one of the most absurd things I've ever read (that is not explicitly attempting to be absurd). Scientists of all sorts often make predictions of events that will take place long in the future, over timescales of just about any length you want to come up with. We can model tectonic activity, which take place on geologic timescales, which is the root of this doctoral thesis, so timescales of '100 million years' is perfectly reasonable when we have about 4 billion years of historical records to track through, 100 million years is not that extreme on a geologic scale.

        But then what about other physical phenomenon? Well, we know that in about 4 and a half billion years, the Andromeda galaxy is going to collide with us. We know that because we know how to model gravity, which is predictable on large scales just like tectonic activity is.

        Or what about our sun? We also know our sun has about 5 billion years left, because we can take spectroscoptic data to see the rate at which it is burning hydrogen as well as to see how much hydrogen is currently remaining.

        That's a lot longer than the '100 million years' these 2 grad students and a professor describe.

        Scientists have no problem modeling slow moving consistant phenomenon, they can't get incredibly tight constraints on time, but no one is claiming to have tight constraints. They're modeling general phenomenon. (By the way, the moon won't turn to cheese, but it eventually will move so far away from the earth as to be locked in geosyncronis orbit, such that the moon will only appear on one side of the earth, never moving. That's on billions of year timescale... which scientists are also perfectly willing to comment on.)

        Unless you have a background in geophysics and plate tectonics, or have read the Nature article and found flaws with their modeling methodology, you're in a really poor position to claim that this is a 'wild ass guess'. Quit playing armchair science unless you have a strong knowledge of the subject.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
      • Andrew

        @Huh

        Yeah, it's pretty awesome, and in fact the song '39 is sung by Brian (on the studio version) and is entirely about time dialation.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
      • LouAz

        Sorry Andrew, I only have a lowly BS in Aeronautical Engineering , and another BS in Mechanical Engineering, and spent 40 years in "AeroSpace" working with a lot of good smart people to make things that had never been made before to run gas turbine engines hotter, faster, and on less fuel than before. However if you expect me to bow when a PHD in plate tectonics walks by on his way to his computer game or the bathroom (you guys still have to pee once in a while don't you?) . . . it ain't gonna happen. The challenge for any "scientists" is to explain his work and reasoning to others in a manner that makes sense to the OTHERS. This article and your responses to it (and me) puts you in the "trust me, I know more about everything than you possibly can" category, right up there with preachers, priests, witch doctors, car salesman, and most obviously POLITICANS. Me thinks you thinks your thinkin' is too important for anyone but you. You'll have to get a better story if you want to get any further funding for your "research" as you don't have enough money to do this kind of "study" on your own, do you ?

        February 9, 2012 at 12:03 am |
      • Andrew

        Oh give me a break. This is why I tend to dislike engineers. "If it can't be reduced and explained to a laymen, it must be wrong!" Neither a BS in mechanical engineering, nor a BS in aeronautical engineering are going to qualify you to be able to discuss the merits of a paper on geophysics.

        One of my favorite professors worked on WMAP, which is responsible for that pretty CMB picture we have (until the even prettier Planck dataset will come out later this year). If any layman or anyone without an astrophysics background were to look at "Seven-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Cosmological Interpretation" you'll find they'll say "what the hell? None of that makes any sense! How do you get constraints on baryonic density from flucuations in random photons out there in the universe? What do the paramaters even mean? What's the 'flatness' term, or the 'optical depth' term.

        Anyone who hasn't taken quite a number of physics courses is likely to have never even seen the words 'optical depth', and certainly wouldn't understand how it relates to astrophysics. Why would they? They've never had to study radiative processes, and radiative processes isn't such a trivial subject that it can be given a brief overview in a popular science article, or even an abstract in a peer reviewed paper. They assume some knowledge base.

        Hell, from your engineering background, even with your physics training I'd doubt even you'd have ever heard of it. So are you then telling me that my professor's WMAP papers aren't good support for providing a constraint on the age of the universe because it uses jargon that you've never heard of to build models you don't understand? "I'm not going to let some PHD physicist tell me about the cosmic microwave background radiation, I work with smart people, if I don't understand the paper, it might as well be some silly computer game that they programmed."

        These papers are aimed at people who have a requisite knowledge of a subject. You are no more qualified to comment on the merits of geophysics research than you are to comment on neurosurgery. "I'm sorry brain surgeon, you're doing it wrong! Sure I may have no background in neurosurgery, but why should I let that PHD make me think you're more qualified to do your job than I am, with my two bachlors degrees in entirely unrelated fields"?

        It's only "trust me" if you either don't want to study the subject yourself and gain the required knowledge to comment on it. If you're not qualified, then yes, you should trust them, just like you should trust a professor telling you about decoupling and recombination when the CMB was released, or that neutrinos have a small cross sectional area that do not interact with either the strong or electromagnetic forces (weak interactions=neutrinos). If you feel "hey, I think this is wrong", learn the subject well enough to substantiate that point, but otherwise, yes, trust people who have taken years to study a subject and write a doctoral thesis rather than write it off as "computer games".

        They know the subject better than you. You may have two bachelors, and you may work with smart people, but you have no experiance in geophysics, and are woefully underequpped to comment on the subject. Every peer reviewed paper on topics in various branches of physics is going to be difficult for someone with no background in the subject to grasp. That is the nature of physics. It's hard. That doesn't mean you get to say 'I don't trust PHDs because they write papers that are hard to understand'.

        February 9, 2012 at 12:19 am |
      • Mark C

        Lou, you are truly an imbecile.

        February 9, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • Ralf The Dog.

      LouAz, some of the smartest people on the planet with quite a few years of education at one of the best schools in the world sitting around a table, then building brilliant computer models, testing those models on historic data, then letting them run forward (and developing new techniques that can be used to solve many problems in unrelated fields in the future).

      That is all this is and that is all it takes to do it.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
      • LouAz

        Sorry Ralf, creating a computer model that takes SWAGs and brings them forward to known current conditions (land mass areas/location), and then let it run forward is not brilliant. It is a computer game. Half ther kids in the local mall on Saturday afternoon could do it as they sit around plinking on their newest iMac device, and probably already have. We're still revising the height of Everest. I worked those "State" puzzles of the USA when I was a kid. That didn't make me a PHD candidate.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
      • Andrew

        Since my VPN is giving me troubles, I don't actually have access to the full article right now (DAMN YOU CISCO!) but I'm curious how

        "We calculate the minimum moment of inertia about which oscillatory true polar wander occurs owing to the prolate shape of the non-hydrostatic Earth5, 7. By fitting great circles to each supercontinent’s true polar wander legacy, we determine that the arc distances between successive supercontinent centres (the axes of the respective minimum moments of inertia) are 88° for Nuna to Rodinia and 87° for Rodinia to Pangaea—as predicted by the orthoversion model. Supercontinent centres can be located back into Precambrian time, providing fixed points for the calculation of absolute palaeolongitude over billion-year timescales. Palaeogeographic reconstructions additionally constrained in palaeolongitude will provide increasingly accurate estimates of ancient plate motions and palaeobiogeographic affinities."

        to you translates to "creating a computer model that takes SWAGs and brings them forward to known current conditions (land mass areas/location), and then let it run forward". I mean, the abstract itself explicitly states that they are looking at precambrian times, meaning they're clearly building their model off historical records as well.

        Have you read the article? Have you even read the abstract? Are you, from any position of knowledge, criticizing their work, or are you just saying "I don't like how they have a prediction, it must be wrong, cause... well... yeah".

        February 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
      • Huh

        LouAz, how is modeling the future based on millions of years of proven past data a computer game? What better scientific process is there? Can you please suggest one? Do you doubt, for example, that the forces that split North America from Europe and South America from Africa aren't going to continue doing what they have been doing for millions of years? Do you not believe that Africa, Madagascar and the Indian subcontinent did not start as a single land mass? Do you think continental drift is a silly made-up theory? The proofs aren't just in the rocks, they're also in the plants and animals.

        February 8, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
      • LouAz

        Thanks for telling me that I am stupid.

        We have not succeeded in solving all your problems. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole new set of questions. In some ways, we feel we are confused as ever, but we believe we are now cornfused on a higher level and about more important things. The Management.

        February 9, 2012 at 12:14 am |
      • Mark C

        "Thanks for telling me that I am stupid."

        Hard to hear, I'm sure, but you're better off knowing.

        February 9, 2012 at 5:44 am |
  45. Help is on the way

    Newt thinks this is a plot to deny creationism and put a kink in his plans to be POTUS.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  46. cpc65

    For those that didn't read the caption below the animation that was a BACKWARDS timescale showing the past. The Atlantic is actually getting bigger and the Pacific smaller as North America is drifting to the WEST. The Mid Atlantic Ridge is a DIVERGENT tectonic plate boundary, so no, the East Coast won't get bashed as some commented. The West Coast will become the new Gobi Desert though, so no more surfing, dudes.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • milankovitch

      If you look at their speculative gnomonic projection, they show south america hitting nam on the eastern seaboard in 100 my. But their cartoon seems off because their present day is not right. Maybe I am not looking at the projection right.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  47. milankovitch

    Looks like another snowball earth is on its way.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  48. jorge

    Climate change? Al Gore will blame CO2!

    February 8, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  49. yogesh

    Who cares? Waste of time and money to study this aspect.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Wary

      Exactly! We need to spend money on what is most important: finding new and more efficient ways of killing each other.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
      • Tom

        At least this study shows that we can save fuel by waiting 100 million years before we go to war with China.

        February 9, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Andrew

      Waste of time and money? Do you realize how very little money was spent on this? The head researcher on the project is Ross Mitchell, which, if you check his Yale page, currently has a MS in geophysics, and is going for a PhD this year. In other words, you're saying 'this is a waste of time and money' on a doctoral thesis.

      ... What kind of university do you go to where professors or departments waste large amounts of resources, time, or money on graduate student's doctoral projects? It's a doctoral thesis! What the hell do you expect?

      February 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Geoscientist

      Wow...no need to study plate tectonics...how little you know and are quick to comment. One of the most basic reasons oh, could be...mineral exploration!

      February 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Ralf The Dog.

      This tells me you have no understanding of the subject. First off, this required little more than student time. Second off, the students were developing their skills related to building mathematical models, turning those models into computer models, testing those models and evaluating their results. Fifteen minutes of this student time is worth more than the total value of your life's work.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
      • Tom

        Apparently you haven't been to his youtube page to see the videos he made of kittens playing. I'm pretty sure they're on par with anything graduate students at Yale have ever done.

        February 9, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  50. yogesh

    Really ...Who cares?

    February 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Bill

      Ummm... a lot of people care – stop projecting your boring interests on people.

      "Who cares to watch sports, its the same thing every game, 1 team wins, 1 loses all by the same rules everytime, what a waste of money" [/sarcasm]

      February 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Ralf The Dog.

      Everyone with an IQ above 60. If you don't care about science, most of us care nothing for you. Please go away and hang out at Fox.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
      • Carl Sagan

        There are plenty of intelligent people who aren't going to be concerned with this subject. They're just not the ones who care enough to make a post to express their apathy.

        February 9, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  51. rajendra

    And do you believe that so called humans allow for this to happen . THeyll extinct the planet even before they get extinct

    February 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  52. AmericanJack

    Staying on point here...........this is so far away who cares now? I hope South Park does this story in their own way :D

    February 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  53. psteerman

    Sarah Palin's going to have to come up with a new slogan.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  54. MXD

    This could reek havoc on the NYC subway system.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  55. milankovitch

    There is something shifty about this, but I don't fault the block heads that diverge from normal tensions in order to transform and converge boundaries. Its just all this drifting is shortening my rigid skin and making mountains out of old hills.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • DanDan

      It makes one tremor and quake with the mountains of tectonic possibilities.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  56. Timetraveler

    Looks like the California coast stays amazingly unchanged – relatively speaking – while the East coast gets trampled.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  57. Jeff

    Why even speculate what the earth will look like in 100 million years. The Sun only has about 50 million years of life left.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • derp

      it's actually 5 billion

      February 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Timetraveler

      The sun has another 5 billion years left. You're only off by a factor of 100.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Barro

      The sun if about half way in its (main sequence) life, so it will last at least another 5 billion years.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Jeff is dumb

      Um Jeff actually the Sun has about 4-5 BILLION years left, which is considerably longer then 50 MILLION years... Do you see the difference :D? If not go back to school and read a book, or even possibly use the internet to look for answers. Planet Earth will be habitable for about another 2 billion years before things start to go REALLY wrong, unless (little bird A) we Nuke ourselves and cause M.A.D or (little bird B) we continue on the current path of using fossil fuels and other Ozone depleting materials in which we will have about 5,000 to 50,000 years left. Or (little bird C) Earth goes into 'day after tomorrow' mode and 'snowball' earth happens (not likely). But Im really hoping Aliens come down and annihilate us like the virulent pests we are, seeing as we have had 30 years to make EASY changes to our biosphere yet neglect the response that logic dictates for us to do. Either way Im waiting on the Aliens :)

      February 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Bill

      Is your last name Bush, per chance? The way you state your facts reminds me of someone...

      February 9, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  58. Michigan Bill

    in 100 million years I can still see Michigan! Hah!

    February 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Oh, your one of 'those guys'

      :O YOUR GOING TO LIVE TO 100 MILLION!!! .... Why is Everyone in Michigan and idiot ..... I guess its due to the proximity of Canaduhhrrr. No wait, they actually have brains -.- .... one day 100 years into the future we might have the solution to this problem: neutering programs. Also add Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Louisiana please.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  59. ichicka

    ... and here I thought Amasia was just another black name? silly me.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  60. derp

    Well that sounds...amasing.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  61. Jonathan

    Nope, tectonic plate movement is just a liberal myth, everyone knows earthquakes are caused by an almighty invisible being passing gas.

    On the other hand, I sometimes wonder just how different life will be on Earth just a few thousand years from now...or in this case several million. That is, if we haven't all killed each other by then.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  62. Cheuk Yung

    We will use up every single resourse on earth before the continential merge together. Start building some mobile nuclear plant now....joking.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  63. MashaSobaka

    Awesome. It reminds me that no matter how badly we trash this planet it will go on long after we've killed ourselves off. The universe is an amazing place.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  64. SoBugly

    I love reading articles like this. Our universe truly is an amazing and enigmatic thing, and articles remind us that somewhere there is something amazing waiting to be learned!

    February 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  65. Shirley

    Some people as so "this minute" it's good to see some researchers with a realistic time frame.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  66. milankovitch

    Get ready for an east coast orogeny. It is time to party like it is the paleozoic era.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  67. Josh

    The video in the link is not a proposed model of the formation of Amasia. It's a playback of the continents and their movements for the past 500 million years roughly – in reverse no less. So by the end of the clip you are looking at the Earth as it was in the Cambrian Period. Nifty stuff!

    February 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  68. Bohtep

    Looks like Maine sticks around the equator for a long long time – woot! no snow

    February 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  69. Kenny

    It's already happened, starting with WalMart, but Pete Hoekstra was trying reenforce it with his dumb 'Debbie Spend It Now' video during the SuperBowl half-time.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  70. Qularkoo

    can you imagine the wobble when the land mass is all on one side!

    February 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • midogs2

      Yes I can, it's like a spinning top, loosing it's velocity before righting itself.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
      • MXD

        Actually that "land mass" you see is only the very thin outer shell of the Earth's, basically wrinkles in the Earth's skin, the 50-mile thick tectonic plates. The highest these wrinkles rise above sea-level is only 6 miles, and dip six miles down at their deepest. And any depression below sea-level is, of course, filled with sea-water (so so add some leveling mass there). Compare that 12 mile "mass swing" to the Earth's total diameter- about 8000 miles – and the mass variation from tectonic activity is really insignificant.

        February 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  71. Jeff Spangler

    Reunite Gondwanaland!

    February 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • milankovitch

      What about Laurentia?

      February 8, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
      • vet4life63

        Naw, it's bush's fault..right obamanoids?

        February 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
      • milankovitch

        Huh? I don't understand the political reference, vet.

        February 8, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  72. jmm

    And I bet the Republicans will blame Obama for this.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • rich republican

      Wats the difference between a rich republican and a rich h democrat? Lol u fool

      February 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Workhard03

      No dems will still be blaming Bush!

      February 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  73. ForReal

    Learn to swim.

    – Tool

    February 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • CalebJames

      hahaha I laughed so fliping hard at that!!! I love Tool! Maynard is a genius.....

      February 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • HipGangstaWannabe

      See you down in Arizona Bay.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  74. longtooth

    So, yuh, what does this have to do with football?

    February 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  75. Oy. Vey.

    I guess we can blame this on man-made global warming as well.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Andrew

      I honestly don't get comments like this. It fails as a joke to anyone who knows the first thing about global warming. It's like saying "I guess we can blame sunburns on osmotic pressure", it is such a non-sequiter as to be meaningless.

      Implicit in the comment is the idea that 'manmade global warming' is over often trotted out as explanation of natural phenomenon, but that's simply not true. Maybe you might feel that way in the popular press, but the popular press is never a good place to look to see what scientists 'blame' on manmade global warming. Sure, manmade global warming affects a large range of phenomenon, from Ocean acidification causing coral bleaching, to the prevelenance of bark beetles currently decimating Canadian forests, but those phenomenon have rather obvious connections to global warming.

      I reject the idea that manmade global warming is over attributed as explanations to phenomenon by scientists. In an article discussing a scientific phenomenon (IE, contential drift), comments like this seem meaningless and I just don't get why you'd even bother making the failed joke.

      February 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
      • Aaron

        It's because he wasn't smart enough to come up with an intelligent retort. It's the same reason he doesn't believe man made global warming exists. If he can't understand it, it's God's plan and how dare you question a deity.

        February 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
      • LOL OMG I NO

        aaron: "It's because he wasn't smart enough to come up with an intelligent retort. It's the same reason he doesn't believe man made global warming exists. If he can't understand it, it's God's plan and how dare you question a deity."

        Yeah, that must be it. He's not, you know, parodying the endless, hysterical global warming comments that come up when talking about anything related to the earth at all.

        That you brought something as irrelevant as religion into the discussion seems to show how dogmatic, partisan, and shallow minded you are, though.

        Keep up the good work.

        February 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
      • Shirley

        And really Andrew, can you just keep talking/writing until we get to the Amasia age it will make the time so much shorter.

        February 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
      • LOL OMG I NO

        andrew: "I reject the idea that manmade global warming is over attributed as explanations to phenomenon by scientists."

        And why is that? Because you rely on fallacious arguments (namely, ones from authority) in order to shape your view of the world?

        I guess you would have supported phrenology 100 years ago? What about the inferiority of women due to cranial size? What about the inferiority of blacks for any number of physical reasons?

        You act like scientists are never politically motivated. If you really believe that, you're an imbecile.

        February 8, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
      • Andrew

        Shirley, if you consider two paragraphs to be that long, twitter really has ruined all forms of communication. I can't fathom what would happen if you tried approaching a book. You think I'm long winded? Try Hemmingway.

        LOL OMG I NO
        I regject the idea because I bother to keep well read on climatology. Having access to a university VPN is rather good for that, I get more than an abstract. Media outlets can say 'scientists say X, Y, and Z' and I actually have access to the studies that tend to say nothing of the sort. Standard media outlets are a typically cra–y source of information on scientific matters.

        And yes, 'authority' does shape my opinion of the world. The opinion of an oceaonagrapher who has been mapping out CO2 emissions yearly and does a analysis on acidification of the ocean that tracks with carbon emissions, while showing the chemical process of carbonic acid formation, tends to carry a LOT more weight with me than some armchair 'scientist' who says 'how dare you trust those scientists. Don't you know their research can be politically motivated!'

        Yes, their reasearch can be politically motivated. They may care about the enviornment enough to say 'hey, I wonder if there's actually evidence to see if what we're doing is causing damage'. That said, the people who outright reject the claims of climatologists or oceanographers or biologists on the basis of 'they might have political motivations' tend to be significantly more biased than the scientific community, which at the very least has to abide by the standards of peer review.

        Science can be wrong, but as Asimov said, "when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

        A neuro-surgeon might have placed stock in companies that harvest tumeric, then declare, due to peer reviewed study 'turmeric helps prevent the formation of alzheimers!' and he could stand to benefit from an ulterior motive, but I still trust the paper "The effect of curc-min (turmeric) on Alzheimer's disease: An overview" far more than I trust someone who says "don't listen to the neuro-surgeons, they profit on the research, thus the research is flawed! I know this because I... have had no formal training in any of the relevant subjects, nor have studied the peer reviewed material myself".

        I question scientists, but I question the people who reject peer reviewed research a lot more. Then again, I'm a physics major, so I must be part of that 'politically motivated cult' myself, right?

        February 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  76. JZephyr

    The earth like any other planet (or any celestial body) has been cooling off since its formation. Since the tectonic plates are powered by the convective currents underneath the plates, I would imagine that the plates moved more quickly in the past, and will move slower in the future because the magma would become more viscous as it cools and the convective currents would slow. I wonder if this is accounted for in their model.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Andrew

      Blackbody cooling tends to be on orders of magnitude slower scale, so even if they do account for it in their moddels, it'd cause fairly minor varation compared to the geologic times in the article.

      February 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
      • heterarch

        some of these other comments are entertaining, but comments like these give me a little more faith in humanity. great posts!

        February 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
      • Yes but...

        ...the blackbody cooling effect only accounts for the outer magma turbulent zone, not the inner core, which provides the superconductive plastic current modal. With all that taken into account, the region simply doesn't stay at one mean temperature. This includes cooling. So as long as the heated influx circulates in eddy currents across the DItherium scale, all is subject to model decay.

        February 8, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
      • Andrew

        I'm not particuarly well versed on geophysics, so all I'm really saying is 'well, for the earth to cool, it's got to be cooling as a blackbody' (After all, space is mostly a vaccuum, so there's no medium for heat conduction) so 'cooling' in the sense of the planet getting colder is on orders of magnitude scale smaller.

        How the actual conductive processes work under our crust, well, again, little geophysics background (aka, none) so that's beyond me.

        February 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
      • JZephyr

        Most of the earth's energy comes from radioactive decay in the core, and clearly other objects like the Moon and Mars seemed to have already cooled off (meaning neither seem to have any active volcanic nor tectonic activity). At some point earth will do the same. I'm not sure if energy loss through blackbody radiation is the major method of energy loss for our planet. But maybe you're right.

        February 9, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  77. KOBOL

    " so there probably won't be any humans living on Amasia"

    Speak for yourself!

    February 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  78. edsr of Dallas

    Interesting. Too bad I won't be around to see this. Wonder if Madonna will be playing at the Super Bowl that year?

    February 8, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Paul

      Thanks for the laugh!

      February 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  79. Yossarian

    There's a nonsense theory out there that Earth has actually expanded over time, and that this somehow explains the observed characteristics of plate tectonics. Never mind the fact that Earth's interior is essentially incompressible.

    Aside from that I'm rather curious to find out what's going to happen when the North American plate finally swallows up the remnants of the Farallon plate. The Juan de Fuca plate originates from a spreading center on its west side and goes under the NA plate on its east side. Eventually the NA plate is going to ride over that same spreading center.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • edsr of Dallas

      Russia will then be part of Cuba.....and Mexico will be part of Yugoslavia.........and Iran will be part of Israel! WOW!

      February 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
      • bud in NC

        I want to buy some cheap property that will end up at the beach. Could make lots of money. If reincarnation is real, I will be in my ten millionth or so cycle.

        February 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  80. Shas

    This theory has already been stated in Indian Vedas. No surprise for me.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  81. rockfish

    Save on Air Fare, now they just catch the bus to China.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  82. sonic10158

    Geography is awesome!

    February 8, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • JJ in Chula Vista, CA

      This isn't really geography. It's actually geology, seismology, plate tectonics, volcanology, accompanied by facets from the study of crystals, minerals, palaeontology, geochemistry, and lots more. Geography benefits from these scientific studies, giving way to the reasons why nations are located where they are, what people dominate a particular location, why one group of people covet another group's natural resources, and why the map of the world looks the way it does.

      February 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
      • Carl Sagan

        I like cake.

        February 9, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • kelso

      BURN!!

      February 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  83. vturk

    so we dont need to solve the immigration issue just as yet :)

    February 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Knight

      looooooooooooooooool

      February 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  84. ocean

    Wow... is this why our northpole melts? They are about to move to the equator !!!

    February 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Nah

      OH GOD IT'S ALL BECAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING AND CORPORATIONS BECAUSE THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT ANYONE BUT THEMSELVES.

      WE NEED TO PUT EVERY CEO IN JAIL NOW!!!

      February 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
      • edsr of Dallas

        You won't be here.....so don't even worry about it! In fact.....there won't be any humans here 100 million years from now....only ROBOTS!

        February 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  85. sharoom

    Oh boy, looks like Greenland's name is going to become even more ironic.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  86. Ram

    Thank God! It will be cheaper and faster air travel to India.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  87. us1776

    I'll let my great^19 grandchildren deal with this.

    .

    February 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • hwrcpa

      Along with the National Debt.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • us1776

      The National Debt is a tool used by 1%-ers to keep the middle-class enslaved.

      .

      February 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • edsr of Dallas

      You must be a Mormon!

      February 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  88. rob

    I'd love to see what they project Israel's borders to be in 100 million years. . .

    February 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • rob

      more importantly how will God keep track of Israel's borders?!

      February 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
      • LOL OMG I NO

        You forgot to change your name when you responded to yourself.

        Bad form, little troll. Bad form indeed.

        February 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  89. Tony Bowling

    It is very useful speculating what may happen a 100 millions years from now. It is a very useful vestment of our money and resources so that we can start planning now for a better future. OMG! What nonsense!

    February 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • rockweed

      Seriously, you think geology is a waste of money? Your comment is nonsense.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
      • LOL OMG I NO

        Nice fallacy.

        Geology is usually useful, therefore anything related to geology is useful.

        February 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
      • Chippy91

        How is this relevant today? Geology is a necessity; there's no argument about that! But why are we dumping (likely) millions of dollars into research like this when no one can even guarentee what kind of shape (no pun intended) our planet will be in?...And if humans will even occupy it? I'm sure investing time and money in understanding where our plate tectonics are going in the NEAR future is useful for things such as predicting earthquakes, volcanoes, and other natural disasters (even though we STILL can't do any of that yet), but 100 million years into the future? C'mon, people! This world really needs to rethink where we're dumping our $$$. Let's worry about helping our fellow citizens of the world get basic human necessities such as water, clothes, and shelter before wasting money daydreaming about "Amasia"!

        "Don't live in the past for the past no longer exists. Don't live in the future for the future isn't a promise"

        February 8, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
      • Andrew

        Millions of dollars? Yes, it costs millions of dollars to map tectonic plates by actually sending out surveyors, and it requires quite a bit of money to do all the sampling to test various models, but once you've got a model in place, it's a matter of stepping through timescales. These are computer models, the 'millions of dollars' went into collecting large data pools to be used for various geological and geophysical research, the models presented here, however, probably cost about 5 days worth of coffee for maybe 4 or 5 scientists to work late into the night touching up on their model so that they could publish and give the something to bite on.

        If you value geology, then you value those 'millions' of dollars being spent on surveying, but actually producing the models to track tectonic activity is a vastly VASTLY cheaper affair. Even if it can cause a lack of sleep.

        February 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Albert911emt

      Knowledge and curiosity are not nonsense, except to those who think being smart is only for "elitists".

      February 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
      • LOL OMG I NO

        Hey, re-re, he said it's nonsense in regards to wasting time, energy and money.

        More useful problems can be solved by applying talent and resources elsewhere. Figuring out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin is a waste of time, even if intellectually satisfying.

        February 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • RAWRRRRR

      Our money? How much money did you pay to have this studied? It came from Yale. Last I checked, Yale is a private school. Even if it weren't, Geology is not nonsense, your existence is though.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  90. Wendell

    less jet fuel needed for travel....cheaper airfares

    February 8, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  91. Aaron

    What? No religious zealots contesting this? I mean it's plate tectonics, the theory that the continents are moving and that this planet is 4.5 billions years old! Where are the creationist morons??? C'mon speak up you ignorant saps!

    February 8, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Adam

      You won't be around to prove them right or wrong either way so what does it matter. Oh that's right you are just trolling for an argument. Idiot.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
      • bjorn

        adam, can you say, "the thief can only see the pockets of the holy man"

        February 10, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  92. Johny5

    Maybe we could all go to the ocean with paddles and start paddling the other direction

    February 8, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • DoggSho

      For what, to tread water? The continents are not floating on the oceans.

      February 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Paul

      I get you, Johny5.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:17 am |
  93. Weeds

    We better get that wall started now, to protect everyone from illegals

    February 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Adlas

      Yea, to prevent all the jobless Americans from trying to sneak into China for jobs

      February 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
      • CAsch

        I don't think the Chinese are in danger of losing their jobs to Americans. You can't get Americans to work for the same cost as the Chinese.

        February 9, 2012 at 8:20 am |
  94. joe

    my name is jojo,
    i ate a yoyo,
    oh nono,
    i want my yoyo!

    February 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  95. J-Man

    Who writes this stupid stuff and why?

    February 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Al

      People who help mankind become smarter and more informed, unlike you.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  96. A Ritz

    Shouldnt we be doing something already to prevent illegal immigration from those future four-legged Asians ?

    February 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • GEZUS

      No, we will have killed off the human race by then.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Adlas

      I'm sure the Chinese would appreciate a wall to protect them from half-brained Americans

      February 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  97. Michael

    Really interesting chart. I have always wondered what the continents will look like. Was there a degree of certainty built into the model shown?

    February 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • John

      No Michael, it was just a wild ass guess by scholars at Yale Univ.....see the university's Logo above within the article.

      February 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
      • ibrad

        No smart ass, It is just a guess. An educated one ,but still a guess.You think they can tell what will happen in 100 million years ? They don`t know what the weather will be like next year.

        February 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm |

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