Can the World That Previously Swallow Its ‘Super Ocean’ Do It Again?
The world was not always as we know it today. The continents have joined and separated many times. Earth, which previously swallowed its super ocean, has the potential to do so again.
The Earth’s surface is constantly changing. Although our lifetime is not enough to understand this change, continents and oceans are constantly moving and forming new geographical shapes. According to scientists, there are two different cycles that create these shapes.
Earth’s previous supercontinent, Rodinia, was very different from Pangea. The team led by Zheng-Xiang Li from Curtin University in Australia argues that shape changes in the earth’s crust occur in two different ways.
According to researchers, the Earth’s crust is renewed every two supercontinents. For the crust to change, a new super-ocean must emerge and a new ring of fire must emerge. The ring of fire here is a term that describes the region of volcanoes on the ocean floor where earthquakes occur frequently.
According to researchers, there are two ways of supercontinent formation. One of these ways is the introverted method and the other is the extrovert method. In the introvert method, there is a single continent and a single piece, a gigantic ocean surrounding it. The continents are then separated by a single inner ocean, and at some point, a ring of fire begins to form on the inner ocean floor. The ocean is beginning to be swallowed up by the planet in this ring of fire. The continents come together again and form a new supercontinent. The new supercontinent is surrounded by the old super ocean.
In the extrovert method, both a new continent and a new ocean emerge. In this case, the supercontinent drifts, forming an inland ocean. This time, the water mass that started to disappear is not the inner ocean, but the super ocean. While the world is swallowing the super ocean, it is dragging the super continent from place to place. After a certain point, the supercontinent goes inside and out. While the areas that were once coastal areas move towards the interior of the continent, the interior areas of the shattered crust are now starting to form coasts. The body of water that was once an inland ocean forms the new superocean.
In their model, Li and his team studied continental and ocean movements over the past 2 billion years. According to their conclusion, two cycles continue on Earth. One of these cycles is the super ocean cycle, which lasts 1 billion years. The other is the supercontinent cycle, which lasted 600 million years.
Li and his team are studying the molecular structures of stones from various ages and trying to unravel the movements of the continents. Li believes the study of tectonic movements will greatly advance the team’s work.
The researchers’ work and their findings will be published in the April issue of the journal Precamrian Research.