Here's What'll Happen When Plate Tectonics Grinds to a Halt
A new study says we may only have another 1.45 billion years to enjoy the dynamic action of Earth’s geologic engine.
There’s no geological artist quite like Earth’s plate tectonics. Thanks to this ongoing operation, we have mountains and oceans, terrifying earthquakes, incandescent volcanic eruptions, and new land being born every single second.
But nothing lasts forever.
Eventually, the mantle will cool to such an extent that this planetwide conveyor belt will grind to a halt. At that point, you can say farewell to the carbon cycle, as well as the constant reshaping and reshuffling of landmasses that have been big drivers of evolution over eons.
The study, published this month in Gondwana Research, has provoked controversy, and some experts argue that we can never accurately predict the end of plate tectonics. But scientists largely agree that such an end will