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Fifty million to 200 million years from now, geologists expect Earth's continents to smash together into one big supercontinent, just as they've done repeatedly in our planet's distant past — and a new computer model suggests that the Arctic Ocean and Caribbean Sea will go by the wayside.
In the past, scientists have assumed that either the Atlantic Ocean will close up, reversing the trend that broke apart the last supercontinent ... or that the current spreading zone in the Atlantic will push the continents 180 degrees around the world to close up the Pacific instead.
A more thorough analysis of magnetic rocks could provide more evidence to support the orthoversion model, or knock it down. It might even turn out that continents can follow a variety of models to bunch up into supercontinents. "Even if the model doesn't stand up to the test of time, we'll learn a lot by testing it," Murphy said.