India, Somalia, Madagascar May Collide to Form One Continent in 200 Million Years: Study

India, Somalia, Madagascar May Collide to Form One Continent in 200 Million Years: Study


You will not be alive to see the ‘mountains of the future’ but in 200 million years, Somalia, an East-African country situated in the horn of Africa, and Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean, will collide with India to form one continent, claims a study. According to the geologists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who worked on the research, the collision will result in the formation of the Somalaya Mountains, the largest mountain range 200 million years in the future. The dramatic change of the tectonic plates will reduce the summits of Himalaya into memory and Somalaya mountains will be towering high above Mumbai. At that time, the countries that used to belong to two different continents will share the same supercontinent.

Dutch geologist Prof. Douwe J. J. van Hinsbergen and his team at Utrecht University used to reconstruct the tectonic plate movements of the past to uncover the planet’s geological history. Sometimes when journalists asked Hinsbergen if he could predict the mountains of the future using his and his team’s reconstructions, his answer would be a yes but he thought what the point was if he would not be there to verify his predictions. But the idea did not leave him and Hinsergen finally decided to give it a shot. So he laid out, for the first time in the world, some rules of how mountains of the future would look like.

According to geologists, tectonic plates move and collide all the time – two to three inches in a year. Areas, where tectonic plates collide against each other, are called subduction zones. When one tectonic plate goes beneath the other tectonic plate, the process is called plate subduction. During subduction, the layers which are not hard enough to survive the collision and make it to the beneath of the other plate, rise up and accumulate to form mountains. Hinsbergen used the reconstructions of the past tectonic plate movements to predict future subduction and describe the mountains formed as a result.

According to Hinsbergen, understanding the future mountain formations may help geologists have a better understanding of how the current geography of earth developed. The study was published in June 2021 in the American Journal of Science.

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