London, July 12 (IANS) The continental crust we live on is getting thinner and could disappear entirely, scientists warn. It means that the future of the Earth could well be the same as depicted in the science fiction film “Waterworld”.
However, there is some solace. It is not going to happen for at least another two billion years, the study said.
The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, aims to examine how the continental crust formed and changed during the Earth’s history.
According to the scientists, the continental crust reached its thickest around one billion years ago when it was on an average 40 km thick but it has been eroding ever since.
“If it continues for the next two billion years, then the crust will again reach that state where the continents are submerged beneath the ocean,” said Bruno Dhuime the from University of Bristol.
It was possible that the world could well come to resemble the way it was depicted in “Waterworld”, he added.
His model shows that around 2.5 billion years ago, the first pieces of land began peeking through the oceans.
The continental crust reached its peak thickness around the time when the supercontinent Rodinia was formed one billion years ago, long before complex life emerged.
However, the mountains formed by this have been eroding away since the and without enough new crust being formed the average thickness has been falling, the Daily Mail reported.