Well, over that length of time, forecasts become more uncertain.
But lots of geologists predict that eventually all the continents, including Antarctica, will merge and become one giant land mass, a super continent, one researchers calling Pangaea Ultima, which more or less means the last super continent.
Now, how that might happen is open to some debate.
Some geologists believe that the Americas will continue to move westward and eventually merge with East Asia.
This hypothesis is based on the direction the Americas are moving in now.
But others hypothesize that a new super continent will form in a different way.
They think that a new subduction zone will might occur at the western edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
Paul, can you remind us what a subduction zone is?
Student: Yeah. Um...basically, a subduction zone is where two tectonic plates collide.
So if an ocean floor tectonic plate meets the edge of a continent and they push against each other, the heavier one sinks down and goes under the other one.
So the...um...the oceanic plate is made of denser and heavier rock, so it begins to sink down under the continental plate and into the mantle.
Professor: Right. So the ocean floor would kind of slide under the edge of the continent.
And once the ocean plate begins to sink, it would be affected by another force—slab pull.
Slab pull happens at the subduction zone.
So to continue with our example... As the ocean floor plate begins to sink down into the mantle, it would drag or pull the entire plate along with it.
So more and more of this plate, the ocean floor, would go down under the continent into the mantle. OK?
So, as I said, currently the Atlantic Ocean floor is spreading, getting wider, but some researchers speculate that eventually a subduction zone will occur where the oceanic plate meets the continental plate of the Americas.
If that happens, slab pull could draw the oceanic crust under the continent, actually causing the Americas to move eastward toward Europe and the ocean floor to get smaller.
That is, the Atlantic Ocean would start to close up, narrowing the distance between the eastern edge of the Americas and Europe and Africa.
So they form a single super continent.