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Can all the continents go back to Pangaea?
Question Date: 2005-02-28
Answer 1:

The continents will never go back to be exactly the same as Pangaea, but they will most likely be back into another super continent at sometime -- maybe 200 million years in the future when the Pacific Ocean has been entirely subducted and North America collides with Asia.

Answer 2:

No. The earth's continents (along with its oceans and mountains) are formed by moving plates. The earth's crust is made up of a jigsaw puzzle of plates floating on partially molten rock in the upper mantle. Heat and currents in the molten rock push the plates around. This movement shapes the earth. Where plates collide, they push up mountains. Where plates pull apart, lava wells out, creating new land. So, the continents are constantly evolving but it is difficult to know what shape they will take.

Answer 3:

No, but they can become a new super continent. The continents that broke away from Pangaea are still being pushed (or, more accurately, dragged) apart by the confluence of mid-oceanic ridges and subduction zones. There is no way to reverse these processes directly, so the continents cannot go back to being Pangaea as it was 250 million years ago.

However, in being driven, and because the Earth is a closed surface (i.e. a sphere), the continents will collide and join together in a different configuration, and, in fact, this is happening. North America is colliding with Asia closing the Bearing Strait, Africa is colliding with Europe and closing the Mediterranean, and Australia is moving northwest into southeast Asia, trapping Indonesia between them. India, meanwhile, as already collided with Tibet.

100 million years from now, most of the continents will be joined together in a great northern continent circling a polar ocean, South America and Antarctica will be island continents, as will Somalia, which is rifting away from Africa as well.

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