|If the plates were to collide into a super
continent, would the mountains that are already at
the plate boundaries grow?|
YES! When plates collide, great mountain belts
form, and many, many earthquakes occur. If
mountains already exist then they will be
rejuvenated, and undergo a new phase of uplift.
This is what is happening TODAY where the
sub-continent of INDIA is smashing into EURASIA.
This deformation has created the uplift we call
the Himalaya Mountains.
This uplift started about 30 million years ago
roughly. A short time on the geological scale.
Remember, the age of the earth is 4568 million
years, and humans, as we know them, have been
around for less than 1 million years... more like
several hundred thousand years.
It is predicted that a new supercontinent will
form in the future, currently dubbed “Amasia.”
This will occur from the merger of Asia and North
America over the North Pole as North America is
pushed westward by the Atlantic mid-ocean ridge.
The Pacific Ocean will also likely close due to
the Pacific Plate subducting under Eurasia and
North America. Mountains that are currently being
formed by plate boundaries would likely continue
to grow, and new mountains would form at the
junction of Asia and North America. Amasia is
estimated to form in about 50 – 200 million years.
That would depend on where the collision happened.
The truth is that a new supercontinent is
forming: Australia is colliding with southeastern
Asia, Africa is ramming into Europe, and North
America is colliding with both Europe and with
Asia as it drifts northward. Where the collisions
take place, new mountains will form. The mountain
ranges that already exist will either continue to
be there if there is still a plate collision or
will erode away if there isn't. Right now, for
example, India is continuing to plow northward
into Asia and the mountains around Tibet
(Himalaya, Karakorum, Hindu Kush, Pamir, Tien
Shan, and Kunlun mountain ranges) are getting
bigger as a result.
Mountain building happens when 2 continental
plates collide. A current example is India (the
Indian plate) being pushed underneath of Asia
(Eurasian plate) and the result is the Himalayan
mountains. So if a super-continent were to form,
where the different continents collide mountains
would form. Over very long periods of time
(millions of years), the tectonic plates (and
continents) move, and collide, and separate and we
have evidence of ancient supercontinents and
collisions through what we call "suture zones".
These are areas that are really deformed from
mountain building, but they have since eroded--
they don't look like mountains anymore but they
are proof of old continents colliding and creating
mountains, such as when previous super-continents,
such as Pangea, formed.
here to see a picture
Click Here to return to the search form.
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.