Meet Earth in 250 million years where Canada and Nigeria are neighbors

Earth is drifting and when the parts collide it will not be disastrous but it will be grim. Only a fraction of the planet’s surface will be habitable to mammals when the next supercontinent, Pangaea Ultima, forms. Image Credit: Alex Farnsworth and Chris Scotese

When we think of the effects of climate change we worry about our future, our children’s future and maybe we skip ahead to a grandchild. But most of us don’t think beyond a hundred years but we should when it comes to sustainable investments and building companies that last. Also consider we have a long future as a species ahead of us. Or do we? Have you thought about thousands or millions of years into the future? In a few billion years life is no longer expected to be sustainable on earth but it could happen sooner.

You may or may not know it but the earth’s landmasses do drift. And Up to 92% of Earth could be uninhabitable to mammals in 250 million years according to a new Nature paper.

As our home planet’s landmasses drift, a merged Afro-Eurasian continent will eventually crash into the Americas to form a new supercontinent: Pangaea Ultima. This means Canadians will be next-door-neighbors to Nigeria. Americans will be bordered by Botswana and Angola.

Pangea Ultima, via Vivid Maps 

The supercontinent’s creation will drive volcanism, which will increase carbon dioxide levels and turn most of the land into a barren, hot desert. In a worst-case scenario, just 8% of the planet’s surface would be habitable to most mammalian life, which would lead to a mass extinction:

The researchers report: “Mammals have dominated Earth for approximately 55 million years thanks to their adaptations and resilience to warming and cooling during the Cenozoic. All life will eventually perish in a runaway greenhouse once absorbed solar radiation exceeds the emission of thermal radiation in several billions of years.

“However, conditions rendering the Earth naturally inhospitable to mammals may develop sooner because of long-term processes linked to plate tectonics (short-term perturbations are not considered here). In about 250  million years all continents will converge to form Earth’s next supercontinent, Pangea Ultima.

“It does seem like life is going to have a bit more of a hard time in the future,” says Hannah Davies, a geologist at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. “It’s a bit depressing.”



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