You won’t be alive to see the “mountains of the future”, but in 200 million years Somalia, an East African country located in the Horn of Africa, and Madagascar, an island of the Indian Ocean, will collide with India to form a continent, says a study. According to geologists at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, who worked on the research, the collision will cause the mountains of Somalia, the largest mountain range, to form 200 million years into the future. The dramatic change in tectonic plates will reduce the Himalayan peaks to memory and the mountains of Somalia will dominate Mumbai. At that time, countries that belonged to two different continents will share the same supercontinent.

Dutch geologist Prof. Douwe JJ van Hinsbergen and his team at Utrecht University used to reconstruct the movements of past tectonic plates to uncover the geological history of the planet. Sometimes when reporters asked Hinsbergen if he could predict the mountains of the future using his and his team’s reconstructions, his answer was yes but he thought what the point if he wasn’t there to. check his predictions. But the idea does not leave him and Hinsergen finally decides to give it a go. He therefore set out, for the first time in the world, some rules on the appearance of the mountains of the future.

According to geologists, tectonic plates move and collide all the time – two to three inches per year. The areas where the tectonic plates collide are called subduction zones. When one tectonic plate passes under the other tectonic plate, the process is called plate subduction. During subduction, the layers that are not hard enough to survive the collision and get under the other plate rise and accumulate to form mountains. Hinsbergen used reconstructions of past tectonic plate movements to predict future subduction and describe the mountains formed as a result.

Understanding future mountain formations, Hinsbergen says, can help geologists better understand how Earth’s current geography developed. The study was published in June 2021 in the American Journal of Science.

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