So once again the world is in the Pangaea formation and the plates are moving on the same trajectory to form the continents that the world is in today (I'll refer to it as Modern). Instead of moving at the rate of 2 inches a year (as it is now) it is moving at a rate that would put the continents in the Modern Formation in about 2000 years. What sort of effects would there be? I think there would be earthquakes, since the ground is shifting, but would there be other disasters and things that impact the environment and people?

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    $\begingroup$ Tons of earthquakes and volcanoes, basically, and mountains like Everest would be built in literally 100 years $\endgroup$ – JSCoder says Reinstate Monica Sep 18 '18 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ Why not try a simple exercise? Compute the kinetic energy of, let's say, India. Not exactly, of course; a Fermi approximation would suffice. Input data: area, 4.4 million km². Average depth of continental crust, 10 km. Average density, 2.7 g/cm³. Average speed, 10,000 km / 2000 years = 1.6E-4 m/s. Compare with the energy needed for boiling off the oceans. Discuss. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Sep 18 '18 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ Do you need a rocky world or could you have an ice world. Europa doesn't have plate tectonics, just volcanism, but it completely resurfaced between probes sent to Jupiter. For that kind of velocity you need a liquid mantle, not a plasticy mantle like on Earth. More internal heat and a smaller planet, so less weight and pressure from above . . . Even so, your numbers feel impossible to me. $\endgroup$ – userLTK Sep 19 '18 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ I'd been hoping for something similar to the Earth in general if not exactly the same, and not an ice world. What would a more reasonable rate be that wouldn't completely obliterate the continents? $\endgroup$ – Asher Sep 20 '18 at 1:41

The tectonic plates will be moving six orders of magnitude faster.

It's hard to figure the numbers for that, but you can expect that the crust will crack and melt.

Quakes release a huge amount of energy. You are talking about making them somewhere between one million times more intense. The Richter scale wouldn't be enough to measure it.

I don't think your continents (if you get any) will look like the ones we have today. Don't forget, they were not made by tectonism alone. A lot of erosion, ice ages, meteor impacts etc. took place too.

More likely, your Earth will go through a second Hadean period.


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