Shifting Continents


WELCOME TO AMASIA: Here’s what Earth may look like in 250 million years.

Earth hasn’t always looked the way it does today. Long ago, nearly all of Earth’s landmasses formed a giant supercontinent called Pangaea. According to a new study, that history could repeat itself.

Earth’s continents rest on tectonic plates. Geological activity inside Earth causes these giant slabs of rock to move a few centimeters per year. Over time, these small movements can lead to big changes.

Using computer projections, scientists at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology predicted that five of Earth’s continents—Australia, Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa—may combine in about 250 million years to form a new supercontinent, called Amasia. “Amasia will be near the North Pole, so it will likely form a massive ice cap,” says Masaki Yoshida, a geophysicist who worked on the study.