The continents are moving. When will they collide? - Jean-Baptiste P. Koehl
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Recent works show that the Arctic is made predominantly of old (≥ 550 million years old) continental crust—and that several-to-tens of kilometers-thick and thousands of kilometers-long systems of 650–550 million year-old cracks extend from northwestern Russia to the Norwegian Arctic. In addition, ongoing work focused on inter-plate correlation of deformation structures (e.g., between Svalbard and Greenland) suggests that these cracks can be traced across several tectonic plates. These findings indicate that the tectonic plates constituting present-day Arctic regions have been relatively stable over the past 600 million years. Visit www.arctictectonics.org for more information about the ArcTec project (funded by the EU Commission).
Predicting the shape, size, and time of assembly of the next supercontinent is an extraordinary challenge to tackle. It requires an extensive understanding of past plate tectonics and the development of technologies to forecast the direction and magnitude of plate movements in the near and distant future. Unfortunately, we still struggle with near-future predictions of tens of meters of tectonic movements along large cracks in the crust, which are responsible for earthquakes.
Since the near future of our planet and, therefore, our own survival is shrouded in uncertainty, we need to work intensively on developing existing and new technologies to mitigate our impact on the climate. Notably wind, solar, and geothermal energy technologies need further improvement if we intend to use them as reliable sources of renewable energy. Other technologies, such as storing dihydrogen in salt rock units to turn it into electricity when needed, could also provide a long-term alternative to fossil fuels. Since a global shift toward clean energy is still far away, it is also important to be able to prevent greenhouse gases from reaching the atmosphere. This could be achieved, for example, by storing carbon dioxide in basalt and/or sedimentary rocks.
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