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Thread: The Earth in the distant future

  1. #1 The Earth in the distant future 
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    Out of curiosity, I am conducting my own "study" on the general conditions of planet earth 250 million years into the future.

    For the sake of argument I am using Scotese's "Pangea Ultima" as a template for the general landmass shape. (I know his subduction theories can be contentious but in this thread I would like to -assume- this Pangea Ultima pans out. No pan, er, pun intended.)

    Thus we have:



    Also for the sake of argument, I would like to assume that humans (or their evolutionary offshoots) haven't had a chance to make a significant impact on the planet beyond what is already done. Assume that, say, humans just picked up shop and left, or were killed off in a worldwide virus, etc, sometime in the next few centuries.

    What I am looking for is any insight that the forum members might be able to lend, on any number of topics, as to what this future world might be like.

    What manner of climate might such a huge super-continent experience? Would there be giant hurricanes, or none? Would it be arid, or wet, and where? What would an ice age look like, here?

    What forms would life take? What extant creatures alive today do you think might survive virtually unchanged, if any, or what might evolve from them? Assuming that life continues along its current path, would the atmosphere still consist of the same mixture of Oxygen, Nitrogen, etc?

    What general changes might take place that aren't so obvious, but might have a huge impact? Any inevitable but subtle changes...for example, the Moon should be about 3,500 miles farther away, but will that have only negligible consequences? Any major changes to the night sky, other than slightly different star positions? What about the other planets in 250 million years, at least insofar as the are visible or affect the earth? I'm looking for any possible changes that might escape casual musing.

    Would the things men have built (up to the present) survive in any form at all? If so, what? Would there be any evidence of our past "domination" whatsoever?

    I thought this could make an interesting topic, and as it spans many different scientific fields of study, I have posted it in the general discussion area. So feel free to chime in on any of the above questions, or your own musings/prognostications.


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  3. #2  
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    Solar output will be significantly different in 250 million years, if I recall correctly.

    In terms of life on the planet, certainly single celled life will be thriving, and presumably supporting higher life as well. The rate of evolution should not change appreciably, thus you expect a different regime of dominant land plants and animals with a good dose of "lower" organisms that have remained largely unchanged.

    It seems that tectonics might lead to unpredictable earthquake and volcanic activity.

    Ocean currents will no doubt be different with a single superocean, thus climate must change but as to how I've no idea.


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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    the problem with trying to predict what the earth will look like in 250 million years time is that we currently don't fully understand the mechanism that starts and stops upwelling and subduction, which can rather have a profound effect on the placement of the continents over time
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Forum Ph.D. Heinsbergrelatz's Avatar
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    by that time, most of our scarce resources would have run out, leaving most technologies out of use, but of course if we have prospered until then, we wouldve had super tech by then, but the conclusion is we never know, what will happen, how will it happen, but its surely going to be something catastrophic or something fortunate, but it will never be the same as now that is for sure
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heinsbergrelatz
    by that time, most of our scarce resources would have run out, leaving most technologies out of use, but of course if we have prospered until then, we wouldve had super tech by then, but the conclusion is we never know, what will happen, how will it happen, but its surely going to be something catastrophic or something fortunate, but it will never be the same as now that is for sure
    Why should have better tehnonlogy by then?
    I will be the same this is the best it gets.

    To you think the knives and fork and plates we use wil be better in a million years?

    No they will be the same as 1000 years ago.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    Solar output will be significantly different in 250 million years, if I recall correctly.

    In terms of life on the planet, certainly single celled life will be thriving, and presumably supporting higher life as well. The rate of evolution should not change appreciably, thus you expect a different regime of dominant land plants and animals with a good dose of "lower" organisms that have remained largely unchanged.

    It seems that tectonics might lead to unpredictable earthquake and volcanic activity.

    Ocean currents will no doubt be different with a single superocean, thus climate must change but as to how I've no idea.
    I'm a geologist and agree with your assessment. There's too many variables to be more precise. The biggest changes are due to the changing flows of water...this impacts sea temperatures, weather, etc. There will be new taxa of organisms but the general food chains will be present with just different players occupying the bio-niches.

    There is no reason to expect the 'dramatic'. The Earth over time becomes more stable with the less influence from tectonic forces and less influence from impacts, etc. from space.
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  8. #7  
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    The western (leading) edge of the Americas has been consuming plates like a sort of upside-down global dustpan for a long time. Everything eventually gets crammed onto it or swept under. What can change that?

    I think our "true" continents include the (now submerged) continental shelves. That's saying glacial periods reveal the normal coastlines... and what we see today is highlands only.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  9. #8  
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    to "esbo"
    quote, "Why should have better tehnonlogy by then?"

    first of all do something about your spelling errors
    second of all, of course we would have better technology, plus your knife and fork comparison was absolutely absurd, even the knives and forks gradually developed from the stone carved, wooden based in to metal stainless steel cutlery composed out of alloys of different metals
    and why do you think the scientists these days are keep researching for the better? its so we gain benefits, isnt it?, of course there will be other reasons and factors, but what im saying is that science will evolve, along with technology. Just compare the stone age periods, and the modern times now, what do you say about that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heinsbergrelatz
    to "esbo"
    quote, "Why should have better tehnonlogy by then?"

    first of all do something about your spelling errors
    second of all, of course we would have better technology, plus your knife and fork comparison was absolutely absurd, even the knives and forks gradually developed from the stone carved, wooden based in to metal stainless steel cutlery composed out of alloys of different metals
    and why do you think the scientists these days are keep researching for the better? its so we gain benefits, isnt it?, of course there will be other reasons and factors, but what im saying is that science will evolve, along with technology. Just compare the stone age periods, and the modern times now, what do you say about that?

    No I think you are wrong, and you actually proved my point when you said spell checker, spell checkers are baasically as good as they get, they are not going to get any better because one you spell the word right that is it, there is no further improvemenet possible.
    Same goes for a lot of things, like kives and forks, they do the job, they won't be improved upon. Indeed I bought a fork recently which was not strong enough to crush a well cooked potato.
    Is the wheel getting any better? No.

    Point is some things are just not possible and never will be.
    Almost all science has been 'done', there wil be no better alloys, they have all been tried.
    We are at the end of the scientific road.
    The petrol engine is not going to improve in efficiency, barriig insignificant fractions.
    We are at a scientific plateau.
    Take the TV, that was perfected yearss ago, now theyare making it worse by making the picture too wide, and hence inefficient, as there is nowhere else to go.
    Smae with digital radio - poorer quality sound.
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  11. #10  
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    ok, you are being to skeptical Mr. Esbo as what i may call you

    you have made a value judgement in your last reply, by saying ; "there wil be no better alloys, they have all been tried."
    first of all how do you know all have been tried and tested before? are you saying that there are no more elements to be found and be composed in to different alloys again?
    are you saying that our periodic table is the end of all element discoveries? i think that is absurdity, its not proven by facts at all, it was simply i dont know where kind of thing
    you also said "The petrol engine is not going to improve in efficiency";
    ok first of all, who said we will be depending on petrol forever? we never know, and your TV example, you think those black and white Tv's back in the 70's are an essential more of a perfection? i dont think so, and how can you possibly say the LED Tv scheme along with many other advanced mechanisms of the art of technology possibly go worse? why do you think the TV markets are economically and financially rising despite in its stable motion?
    and the last point i want to point out is that, how on earth do you know that science has reached its limit, you have absolutely no evidence on that, i mean, you are just comparing the limitations of us in a world of infinite theories and new discoveries of the genius perfection of all sciences. So basically you cant say anything about the end of science, or anything even close to that, because you simply don't know, plus your arrogance is just beyond its limit, we are arrogant enough already to think of the impossible that are available to those who are 1million years ahead of us, but to say that science is reaching its end? is just profanity
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    Just check into research for the last time Earth had a supercontinent; Pangaea.

    The interior should be very harsh. The Indian Ocean might remain IF:

    http://www.scotese.com/futanima.htm

    Whatever descendant of human is left at the time, I sure hope it will have transcended living on Earth!
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    All the elements have been found no douobt about it,
    we can make some new ones but they only last a fraction of a second,
    same goes for alloys there are only 100 or so elements and the alchemists
    where mixing them centuries ago, an amateur with a chemistry set could make most.
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  14. #13  
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    I do not want to start a quarell over the subject but I am very sure that our current science and technology will improve dramatically in the next few centuries let alone the next few decades, for a general exmaple our medicinal sciences will improve to the point where we will most likely have all the cures for diseases that current knowledge deems impossible. Our most brilliant minnds now calculates that within 30 years we will be able to perfect the ability to regenerate human limbs using our own DNA (Immitating salamander style regeneration techniques maybe with a few twists, which they are currently pursuing). Even the current race to provide affordable space travel (a space tour) is being pursued with better and better tehcnology, the owner of Virgin airlines is one of the top people on it. To comment on the science on earth being at it's end , i really doubt that man is at the highest pinacle of understanding "everything" right now, that fact alone leaves much much room for advancement, perhaphs when the day comes that we do understand and comprehend to "everything" then it is true that nothing can be advanced any further. Never before seen in history and it will never be reaapeted that we are learnign in such a rapid and profound pace our ancestors couldn't even dream of (maybe never thought possible) To further put notion on this I am not an expert but it is said that within about 1,000 years from now in the year 3,000 man will have maybe some would call an omniscient undersntanding of things, one of the ways I can come up with this is just basing it on man's deepest studies of knowledge and wisdom, eastern philosophy, teachings of the "greats" i believe many texts of faith such as the bible refers to a time where knowledge will be absolute, or close to this.

    Isn't the sun supposed to runout of steam and expand and eat the earth and blow up within250 million years or is it 1 billion years? (i think it is a billion)

    Anyways I am new HELLO ALL!!!
    Imagination is a key to the foundation of thought that will forever stand.

    Miguel Reyes
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  15. #14  
    Forum Ph.D. Heinsbergrelatz's Avatar
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    you know, what "esbo"
    this is what you said :"All the elements have been found no douobt about it,"
    you go and think whatever you want, but I guarantee your opinions are 100% wrong,
    please don't make such suggestions and random guesses as if like you know everything cause as a matter of fact you have absolutely no idea how wrong you are at interpreting in a world of enigma. Let me just say, opinions simply ain't the way to support the facts and theories of the art of all sciences
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  16. #15  
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    are you guys really big on correct punctuation,spelling and grammar in this forum? i got criticized in 1 froum because of a few errrors, just asking
    Imagination is a key to the foundation of thought that will forever stand.

    Miguel Reyes
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    I notice you didn't check your post: froum or however you spelled it. It was clearly due to a mistype. Happens to me alot as I try to type fast and my fingers are a tad too large for the keyboard...

    I don't care if you don't chcek, I can undresatnd if you make a mitsake...
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  18. #17  
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    Sorry I'll try harder on that, I am a member of 16 forums, please exuse my errors.
    Imagination is a key to the foundation of thought that will forever stand.

    Miguel Reyes
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  19. #18  
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    as long as you only make simple mistakes, instead of like running your text through a translator 6 or 7 times across several languages, you'll be fine. For the most part, and there are only a couple of grammar and spelling nuts on the forum (not one of them), as long as it can be deciphered and you don't get pissy on our bad grammar, your good
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  20. #19  
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    Now that is a good proposition.
    Imagination is a key to the foundation of thought that will forever stand.

    Miguel Reyes
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