Naked Science – Colliding Continents

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How were the continents formed?

We walk over them without a second thought, but where did the land beneath our feet come from? We go back in time to the oldest rocks on earth, to see how the first continents formed on our fledgling planet. We see how continents are just lighter rocks, floating on a layer of denser molten rock, the mantle.

Travelling to the bottom of the Grand Canyon we follow the process of erosion and sedimentation that created the landscape we see today. At the Giant’s Causeway, in Ireland, we tell the story of how a continent split into two, creating America and Europe, and in the Himalayas, we see how two continents colliding create the tallest mountains on earth.

But what of the future? Using computer simulations, we trace the progress of the continents over the next 250 million years and discover that they will all merge into one.

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