Looking at the shapes of Earth's continents today, it's easy to think of them like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. They look like they could have fit together once. For instance, the western coastline of Africa looks like it fits perfectly with the eastern coastline of South America.

And the reason the continents look this way is because they really did fit together once. Hundreds of millions of years ago, scientists believe that our planet had only one continent, named Pangea. This supercontinent slowly, eventually, broke apart to form the continents as we see them today, due to a process called plate tectonics.

It's one thing to look into the past and guess at how this process moved the continents to where they are today, and another thing to look at the way the continents are still moving today and guess at where they might be going. But that's exactly what at least one scientist, Christopher Scotese at the University of Texas at Arlington, attempted to try and do.

Scotese has created an animation (shown in the video at the top of the page) that predicts where Earth's continents might end up over the course of the next 250 million years, and it turns out they might be on their way to forming another supercontinent, reports the BBC.

This future supercontinent, which has been aptly named "Pangea Proxima," could one day make it possible to travel from North America to Antarctica ... by foot.

It's a fun concept to imagine, but as Scotese admits, also highly speculative. Just because Earth's continents are moving in certain directions today doesn't mean that a major geological event can't happen and shake everything up. Scotese thinks his model is probably accurate up to about 50 million years. After that, it's mostly just a guess.

"In the plate tectonic world, plates do evolve slow and steady until we have one of these plate tectonic catastrophes like continental collisions," he said. "This fundamentally changes plate tectonic regimes."

It's a reminder, though, that the Earth is a dynamic place, and that our planet will probably be unrecognizable in several million years. The continents are moving, often only inches per year, but they're moving. And maybe, just maybe, this slow ride is gradually carrying us all back together again.

Bryan Nelson ( @@brynelson ) writes about everything from environmental problems here on Earth to big questions in space.

Earth's continents might all join together in 250 million years
A new animation predicts how the continents will move over hundreds of millions of years into the future.