Pangaea, formation of earth, continental drift, position of tectonic plates and why they continue to move apart, and what they will look like in the future + will they ever rejoin?
Planet earth did not always look the way it does today; many millions of years ago, all of the continental plates: North America, Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, Eurasia, and Antarctica were one solid super Continent called Pangaea. We know this because of you look closely at all the continents, they look like they would fit together. Other evidence for Pangaea includes fossil distribution, distinctive patterns in rock strata in now unconnected parts of the world and the distribution of the world's coal. In terms of fossil distribution, archaeologists have found matching fossil remains if ancient species in continents are separated by thousands of miles of ocean today. For example matching reptile fossils have been found in Africa and South America indicating that these species at one time lived very close to each other as it is not possible to them to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
The formation of Earth has always eluded scientists. Most think that it was at one point a bunch of asteroids floating around in space; Until one of them hit another and another and another until it was a glowing red ball of earth, metal and fire. Today the core is the metal, above that is the magma and fire, and above that is the earth which we thrive on. the earth was formed about 4.6 billion years ago and a popular theory for the moons' formation was that it was once part of earth until another planetesimal ( science word for asteroid sized planet) hit the "earth" and a chunk flew off but was stuck in orbit by the gravity of the planet. This was later called " The moon".
At first, other scientists did not accept Wegener's theory of continental drift. But scientists now know that the continents rest on massive slabs of rock called tectonic plates. The plates are always moving and interacting in a process called plate tectonics. This is the reason for continental drift. We also now know that when these plates meet, they can be one of three different types of collision: destructive, constructive and conservative. Destructive: This occurs when oceanic and continental plates move together. The oceanic plate is forced under the lighter continental plate. Friction causes melting of the oceanic plate and may trigger earthquakes. Magma rises up through cracks and erupts onto the surface. An example of a destructive plate boundary is where the Nazca plate is forced under the South American Plate. constructive: A constructive plate boundary, sometimes called a divergent plate margin, occurs when plates move apart. Volcanoes are formed as magma wells up to fill the gap, and eventually new crust is formed. An example of a constructive plate boundary is the mid-Atlantic Ridge. conservative: A conservative plate boundary, sometimes called a transform plate margin, occurs where plates slide past each other in opposite directions, or in the same direction but at different speeds.Friction is eventually overcome and the plates slip past in a sudden movement. The shockwaves created produce an earthquake.This occurs at the San Andreas Fault in California.
The position of the tectonic plates has changed quite frequently, at the moment they are split up as seen: http://www.jeron.je/anglia/learn/sec/geog/gn007/map6.gif as you can see it is split up into many different plates which are constantly moving apart due to the tectonic plates moving. In my opinion I think that the plates will eventually go so far apart that they meet again causing another Pangaea. I have evidence for this as there is evidence proving that Pangaea wasn't the only super-continent in history. Because after Pangaea broke up there were two giant continents as seen through the timeline picture showing the development of the continents and their positions through the era. The two giant continents are called Laurasia and Gondwanaland. This one movement of Pangaea splitting apart I think gave them enough momentum, though very slow, to meet up again and reform Pangaea.
In conclusion, the earth will never stop changing. I think that the earth in a way, adapts to host us and all the other life on it as well as we adapt to it ( this is only my theory, NOT fact). I think that the continents will rejoin again and possibly be major weather disasters at the meeting point. But we'll probably all be dead by then as it would take millions of years for them to actually rejoin into Pangaea.
Thanks for reading.