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"Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Calendar of Sonnet's: February
Learn English in February

Tuesday Night Owls - 14 January 2020 - Could Earth return to being one continent in the future?

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,139 Teacher
We read an article which explained the science behind the continents and how they have changed over time, and why this means in the far distant future we could have only one continent on Earth:

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160729-in-250-million-years-earth-might-only-have-one-continent


Vocabulary Top 10:

tantalising - to cause (someone) to feel interest or excitement about something that is very attractive, appealing, etc.

speculative - based on guesses or ideas about what might happen or be true rather than on facts

fossilised - having been changed into a fossil (fossil = something (such as a leaf, skeleton, or footprint) that is from a plant or animal which lived in ancient times and that you can see in some rocks)

drift - to move smoothly or easily in a way that is not planned or guided

crackpot - a person/thing which is crazy or very strange

vindication - to show that (someone or something that has been criticized or doubted) is correct, true, or reasonable

gigantic - extremely large

crucial - extremely important

flank - the side of something (usually something big)

trundle - to move slowly and heavily


Do you think there might only be one continent on Earth in the future?


@april @Alexa @Monik @hocon @almog250 @Diakha @oscar001 @Rob @Shiny03

Comments

  • oscar001oscar001 Posts: 91 ✭✭✭
    edited January 16
    Yes, I think so. As it is proved from scientists studies, Earth continent's plates have always been creeping and will continue to do it. Apparently, "we'ĺl" see one continent in some 250 million years, so no need to hang on someone else's arm due to that motion. Hopefully, we can just walk to Australia @NatashaT , can't we?
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 11,084 mod
    edited January 19
    It's possible that Earth will be one continent in 250-million-years, but my concern is how big will be that continent?
    I can't believe that it will be as big as the total of America+Europe+Africa+Asia+Australia+all the smaller lands, islands, isles etc.
    It will be a mini continent; what left behind of the present continents after one and another annihilations in the next 250-million-years.
    If there were not any total annihilation!
    I only hope that there will be more peace in that continent than now.

    Post edited by april on
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,139 Teacher
    @oscar001 I think it would be great if we could walk to Australia! I'm not sure I can wait 250 million years (give or take a few million years either way) for it to happen though... maybe the plane would be faster after all...
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,139 Teacher
    That's a good point @april - these predictions don't seem to take into account any other changes that continents may go through during that time. And it's a long time! Hopefully by then, people will be happier to call themselves just 'earthlings' or maybe 'Pangaeans' instead of dividing into smaller groups.
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,992 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I was a bit skeptical at first, I admit, before reading the article. I kept thinking that an article about geology was going to be a bit boring, you know all those stones and rocks..

    On the contrary, I found it wonderfully amazing, interesting, one of the more compelling science articles I've read of late: it made the miracle of reconciliating me with geology, geophysics and related disciplines straightaway: thank you @NatashaT for such magic.

    It struck me that until the early 1950 the most eminent scientists didn't even suspect that the upper layer of the Earth might not be really static, motionless, that plates didn't even exist.

    It took military technologies, as it has been often the case for several twists along the course of progress of scientific discoveries and improvements in societies, to make it clear the seabed wasn't a entirely flat land.

    By means of an instrument called sonar, they were able to find a large mountain ridge running from the western coast of the Atlantic ocean all the way to the eastern one.

    From an opening at the top of such ridge, the white-hot, melted rock, the magma, could emerge from the boiling cauldron of the interior of the Earth, at times struck by the Nature's unforeseeable, irresistible, inexorable clock.

    Such eruption was so powerful as to unleash the potent push which eventually drift apart the plates by a few centimeters at a time, still already enough to spread further away the continents, step by step, given due time.

    Meantime the cooling magma made up new rocks which trundled down both flanks of the submarine mountains, accumulating rocks on either sides which eventually would form new plates to replace the old ones like it was the change of a snake's skin.

    All the process is magnificent and gives you an idea of the titanic forces The earth conceals just beneath the ground upon which you lightheartedly stroll along.

    The article also explains you the priceless value of the interdisciplinary approach, combining geology and paleontology, in this case, which is indispensable when you need a convincing range of evidences backing the most difficult theories towards crucial scientific questions.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @oscar001 Here is your correction:-

    Yes, I think so. As has been proved in scientific studies, the Earth's continental plates have always been creeping and will continue to do so. Apparently, "we'ĺl" see one continent in around 250 million years, so no need to hang onto someone else's arm due to the motion.

    Hopefully, we will be able to just walk to Australia @NatashaT , won't we?
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @april - Here is your correction:-

    It's possible that Earth will be one continent in 250-million-years, but my concern is how big will that continent be? I can't believe that it will be as big as the total of America+Europe+Africa+Asia+Australia+all the smaller lands, islands, islets etc.

    It will be a mini continent; whatever has been left behind by the current continents after one or another annihilation in the next 250-million-years.
    If there has not been total annihilation!

    I only hope that there will be more peace on that continent than we have now.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @filauzio - Here is your correction:-

    I was a bit sceptical at first, admittedly, before reading the article. I kept thinking that an article about geology was going to be a bit boring, you know all those stones and rocks, but I was wrong. I found it wonderfully interesting, one of the more compelling science articles I've read of late: it had the miraculous effect of reconciling me with geology, geophysics and related disciplines straightaway: thank you @NatashaT for such magic.

    It struck me that until the early 1950s the most eminent scientists didn't even suspect that the upper layer of the Earth might not be completely static, motionless. In their minds plates didn't even exist.

    It took military technology, as has been often the case for several twists along the course of progress of scientific discoveries and improvements in society, to make it clear the seabed wasn't an entirely flat area.

    By means of an instrument called sonar, they were able to find a large mountain ridge running from the western coast of the Atlantic ocean all the way to the eastern one. Where, from an opening at the top of such a ridge, white-hot, melted rock, magma, could emerge from the boiling cauldron of the interior of the Earth, at times struck by Nature's unforeseeable, irresistible, inexorable clock.

    Such eruptions were so powerful as to unleash the potent push which eventually forced apart the plates a few centimeters at a time, enough to move the continents further away from each other; step by step, given enough time.

    Meanwhile the cooling magma formed into new rocks which trundled down both flanks of the submerged mountains, accumulating rocks on either side which eventually would form new plates to replace the old ones like it the shedding of a snake's skin.

    The process is magnificent and gives you an idea of the titanic forces the earth conceals just beneath the ground upon which you lightheartedly stroll along.

    The article also explains the priceless value of an interdisciplinary approach, combining geology and paleontology, in this case, which is indispensable when you need a convincing range of evidence to back up the most difficult theories contained in crucial scientific questions.
  • oscar001oscar001 Posts: 91 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for your help @Teach . I appreciate your correction.
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