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How Earth’s tectonic plates could be shifting us into an inhabitable ‘supercontinent’




The shifting tectonic plates beneath Earth’s surface are slowly creating a supercontinent set to come together in the next 250 million years, a new study predicts.

But humans won’t be around to experience it — in fact, they’ll be completely wiped out, along with all other mammals affected by a mass extinction that researchers say will be a “natural consequence” of the formation and decay of the supercontinent, named by scientists as Pangea Ultima.

The sun, by then, will emit 2.5 per cent more energy than it does today, and volcanoes will pump twice as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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The solid rock slab predicted to push all of Earth’s continents into one massive landmass will create vast deserts, and extreme global temperatures in doing so.

Senior research associate at the University of Bristol, Alexander Farnsworth, who is the lead author of the study published in Nature Geoscience on Monday, said the hotter sun, increased CO2 levels, and insulation from oceanic influence would converge to “effectively create a triple whammy”.