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What will the Earth look like in 50,000 years?

Predicting the Earth’s future is a bit like predicting the weather: the further you look ahead, the more your accuracy suffers. Based on this logic, it seems impossible to look ahead 50,000 years and have any chance of being right. And yet we have more than 4 billion years of history from which to draw lessons. When you consider the history of Earth on a geologic scale, you can count on certain inexorable processes — evolution, extinction, plate tectonics, climate change — to continue shaping our planet far into the foreseeable future. Let’s look at some of these processes to predict what the Earth might look like in 50 millennia.

First, Earth is a planet that spins on its axis as it revolves around the sun. These movements have certain implications for organisms trying to eke out an existence down on the planetary surface. For example, Earth not only rotates on its axis, it also wobbles like a spinning top. Astronomers call this precession, and it causes the axis to point to different parts of the sky in a 26,000-year cycle.


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