Awesome new animation envisions Earth in 250 million years

September 13, 2017 by  
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Earth in 250 million years won’t be the planet we know and love today. Plate tectonics theory reveals how plates comprising Earth’s outer shell glide atop the mantle , causing continents to drift apart or come together. Business Insider put together an animation , using projections from Northwestern University adjunct professor Christopher Scotese , to envision Earth millions of years in the future. And it looks like a very different place. In fact, a whole new supercontinent could form. Scotese runs the PALEOMAP Project , which includes a YouTube channel with over 50 computer animations that show “the plate tectonic evolution of the continents and ocean basins during the last billion years.” Business Insider drew on Scotese’s projections to create a video of what Earth could look like in 250 million years. Related: How climate change could alter the environment in 100 years You can watch as some continents join together and others move away from each other, as land masses start to look like they might form a supercontinent. The final image is of a globe with an ocean filling most of one side, and land masses pushed together across the other side as the continents begin to merge. In the description of one of his videos, titled “ 240 million years ago to 250 million years in the future ,” Scotese suggested another Pangea will form 250 million years into the future. He calls it Pangea Proxima. He said in the description of another video, “ Future Plate Motions & Pangea Proxima – Scotese Animation ,” he changed the name of the supercontinent from Pangea Ultima to Pangea Proxima to reflect “the fact that plate tectonics will continue for several more billion years and that other future Pangeas are very likely.” You can see Business Insider’s animated map here . Many more animations of our changing planet can be found on Scotese’s YouTube page . In addition to how plate tectonics might change the globe, Scotese has explored how climate change might alter Earth. Via Business Insider Images via screenshot

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Awesome new animation envisions Earth in 250 million years

This mind-blowing building is made from material as thin as a coin

September 13, 2017 by  
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MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY’s giant alien-like structure is pushing the envelope for self-supporting architecture. Built of material as thin as a coin, Minima | Maxima is a 43-foot-tall organic building commissioned for the World Expo 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The self-supporting structure is an incredible achievement; as the studio puts it: “If an egg were scaled up to the same height as Minima | Maxima, it would be much thicker.” Like most of MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY’s projects, Minima | Maxima looks like something straight out of science fiction with its organic yet alien shape created using digital tools. The installation is as tall as a four-story building and is built from 2-millimeter-thick aluminum . The studio used their signature “Structural Stripes” material to build the self-supporting curvilinear structure, and reinforced it with multi-ply composite. Three flat strips of powder-coated aluminum—white and white sandwiching pink—are layered to create a 6-millimeter-thick anisotropic composite material comparable to fiber technology like carbon or glass fiber, yet does not need to be in tension or temporary scaffolding. Related: MARC FORNES/THEVERYMANY’s ultralight informal amphitheater in France looks like an opening chrysalis “The unprecedented structural achievement of the project lies in its geometry,” said the studio. “Minima | Maxima extends MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY’s research and development into achieving structural integrity through ultra-thin, self-supporting structures which find their strength in the double curvature of their form. In the whimsical yet durable universe the studio creates, curves win out over angles; branches, splits and recombinations make columns and beams irrelevant. A ‘networked’ surface rolls in, on and around itself, transforming into a space that obscures our preconceived notions of enclosure, entrance/exit, and threshold, while also providing its own support to stand up.” Minima | Maxima was completed in June 2017 in Astana , Kazakhstan and is a permanent installation. + MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY Images © NAARO

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This mind-blowing building is made from material as thin as a coin

Research reveals the Earth may have once had a solid egg-like crust

March 2, 2017 by  
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Extending the symbolism of eggs as a metaphor for life and reproduction, recent research reveals the Earth itself may have once had an egg-like structure. According to a report from the University of Maryland , the plate tectonics that now define the Earth’s geology may have begun later in the planet’s history. Before the plates began moving and colliding to define the surface we know and love today, the Earth’s crust likely consisted of a solid but deformable shell encasing a molten liquid interior. The research, a joint effort between the UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Curtin University and the Geological Survey of Western Australia , was recently published in the journal Nature, and represents the latest in a longstanding debate over the Earth’s geological history. One side of the debate says plate tectonics began right after the Earth started to cool (known as uniformitarianism), while the other proposes the planet went through a long phase with a solid shell enveloping it. This latest study clearly favors the latter view. Models for how the first continental crust formed generally fall into two groups: those that invoke modern-style plate tectonics and those that do not, says Michael Brown, a professor of geology at the University of Maryland and a co-author of the study. “Our research supports the latter ‘stagnant lid’ forming the planet’s outer shell early in Earth’?s history. Related: Geologists find seventh continent hiding in plain sight Coming to this conclusion was no easy task. Brown and his team studied rocks collected from the East Pilabara Terrane – a large area of ancient crust located in Western Australia . As old as 3.5 billion years, these rocks are some of the oldest on the planet. The researchers looked at the granite and basalt rocks for signs of plate tectonic activity, such as subduction of one plate beneath the other. As UMD explains it: “Plate tectonics substantially affects the temperature and pressure of rocks within Earth’?s interior. When a slab of rock subducts under the Earth’s surface, the rock starts off relatively cool and takes time to gain heat. By the time it reaches a higher temperature, the rock has also reached a significant depth, which corresponds to high pressure – in the same way a diver experiences higher pressure at greater water depth.” In contrast, a stagnant lid regime would be very hot at relatively shallow depths and low pressures. Geologists refer to this as a “high thermal gradient.” According to Brown, the results showed the Pilabara granites were produced by melting rocks in a high thermal gradient environment and the composition of local basalts shows they came from an earlier generation of source rocks supporting the ‘stagnant lid’ theory of the Earth’s early formation. Images via Robert Whitehead , domdomegg

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Research reveals the Earth may have once had a solid egg-like crust

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