View Full Version : When will Japan become another US State?

14th Apr 2009, 23:41
Continuing my 'state of the Planet' series (!), I wonder when North America will collide with Japan making it (after Hawaii becomes part of the mainland) another US State?

It was interesting to look at a World Atlas to see how plate tectonics have re-shaped the land masses over time. No educated T-Rex would recognize the Earth today!

I was surprised to read an old A-level textbook of mine recently and noted that this concept was not fully accepted even within my own lifetime. You sometimes tend to forget just how modern some science is.

Has anyone (I presume they have) determined how the Earth will look 65 million years from now?

Hardly a subject to lose sleep over, but interesting nevertheless.



Yamagata ken
15th Apr 2009, 01:59
Here are (should be) links to a couple of interpolations.

Examine an animation of plate movement predicted for the future. (http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/visualizations/es0807/es0807page01.cfm?chapter_no=visualization)

100 m.y. into the Future (http://www.ig.utexas.edu/research/projects/plates/100_future.htm?PHPSESSID=951b5bceac246caa6629f76a90d8e409)

It seems Japan has more to fear from Australia than North America.

The theory of continental drift has been around since we first had reasonable maps of the North and South Atlantic. In the 20th Century, Wegener was the most influential advocate, but without a mechanism it remained just an attractive theory.

The breakthroughs came in the '50s/'60s with topographic and geophysical mapping of the ocean floors as well as seismic surveys of the continental margins. Once the principles of sea floor spreading and subduction were worked out we had a Grand Unifying Theory, which united a huge amount of disparate geological information. The word paridigm is woefully overused but Plate Tectonics totally revolutionised our understanding of geology.


As a side note, my geophysics professor at UEA was Fred Vine. Fred did a post-Doc under/with Drummond Matthews at Cambridge. They ran a geomagnetic survey across the E90 ridge in the Indian Ocean, and it was Fred who worked out that the geomagnetic reversals were a recording of the creation of new oceanic crust.

Fred is a fiercely intellectual man, but utterly charming and very modest. He won the poison challice of making his one major career breakthrough in his mid twenties. Fred was a great lecturer, and taught me far more than geophysics. His lectures were models of clarity and organisation. :ok:

West Coast
15th Apr 2009, 02:49
From an economic standpoint, we were asking the opposite of the question in the 70's through the 90's.

Yamagata ken
15th Apr 2009, 03:03
Shirly, Oz will have been dug up and shipped to Japan far sooner than 65 MA hence?

16th Apr 2009, 02:58
I thought it already did, around 1945ish...?

16th Apr 2009, 03:50
Will never happen, for a very simple reason...both drive on opposite sides of the road.