College Physics Problem 2.7

The North American and European continents are moving apart at a rate of about 3 cm/y. At this rate how long will it take them to drift 500 km farther apart than they are at present?


We know that the formula for velocity is


If we rearrange the formula and solve for time, we come up with

time=frac{displacement}{velocity}Substituting the given values,

\Delta t=\frac{500\ km}{3\ cm/year}=\frac{5\times 10^{5}\ m}{3\ cm/yr}\times \frac{100\ cm}{1\ m} =1.67 \times 10^{7}\ years

Therefore, the time it will take is about 1.67\times 10^{7}\ years.