Skip to comments.Earth's Plate Tectonics May Eventually Stop
Posted on 08/15/2008 11:48:02 AM PDT by decimon
The Pacific is the biggest ocean on Earth, but it's getting smaller every day. Australasia and the Americas are inching closer together, and in about 350 million years the Pacific will effectively close.
That's when plate tectonics - the process driving all that slow motion, and one that geologists have assumed to be continuous - may grind to a halt.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Pacific plate ping.
We are fast approaching a tipping point -— in less than ten years -— where we won’t be able to reverse this catastophic trend.
Great news — I’m going to call and cancel my earthquake insurance.
How much ya wanna bet? How much? ;-)
450 million years and counting.....
Well duh-uh, you'll be in Asia and not covered anyway.
Man. What kind of world will this be for my great x 642,150,423 grandchildren?
It’ll cease for sure when Sol goes nova....
Gonna get worse than that before it’s done. If the plate tectonics stop it will mean that the earth’s core will be running out of fuel and the magnetosphere will fade. then the atmosphere will begin to be stripped away and radiation will give us all real bad sunburns.
In other news the Earth will eventually be swallowed up by the Sun.
The sun won’t nova. It’s going to expand to a red giant and swallow all the inner planets. After a some length of time it will collapse to a white dwarf and smolder for a few billion years and cool off.
My understanding that is that continental drift has a 250 million year cycle (I can’t remember the name of the cycle) so that the continents drift apart and then drift back together to form a new Pangea every 250 million years (give or take a decade or two).
Supposedly Sol is too small to go nova. She’ll go small red giant, maybe, but will probably end up as a brown dwarf.
The volcanic activity caused by the subduction zones, for example the Cascade mountains, is a key step in the carbon cycle. If this stops then Earth might become lifeless. Mars does not have plate tectonics and from what I read the lack of a carbon cycle might of killed life off that planet.
Whatever energy is left will eventually disburse as the universe fades to entropy.
It is all Bush's fault. Bush and those damned SUVs.
Women and minorities will be hardest hit.
Sweet! I can take the train to London.
And plate tectonics, in turn, is driven by heat caused by radioactive decay taking place deep in the Earth - primarily by a radioactive isotope of potassium.
At some point in the far distant future, the radioactive isotope will be depleted to the point that the molten mantle will cool enough to congeal, and tectonics will slow down and stop. But we might not be around to see that happen.
This would not be the first time that radioactive elements on the Earth have decayed to the point of altering their activity. Millions of years ago, uranium had a higher concentration of U-235 relative to U-238 - in other words, it was “enriched” enough that in a very places we have found excessively depleted uranium deposits, which indicate that at some time in the past, ordinary water (instead of heavy water, or deteurium oxide) was able to act as a moderator and slow fast neutrons down to where they could sustain a low-level chain reaction in a rich uranium ore bed. Look up the Oklo reactor in Gabon for more info.
Yeah, when continents merge and form a supercontinent, they can't break apart.
Whoops, the last one did just that. Is this dude telling us that something is going to change so dramatically in the next 350 million years that a process that has run for 4.5 billion years will halt?
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