The sting of a tectonic plate, one of many huge cabinets of crust that carry the continents and ocean’s flooring, is splitting proper down the center.
Scientists began to review the plate, situated off the coast of Portugal, after it brought on an surprising earthquake and tsunami in 1969. They now suspect that they’re witnessing the delivery of a brand new subduction zone, in keeping with Nationwide Geographic, which is the purpose at which two plates collide and grind towards one another, inflicting highly effective earthquakes.
Drop By Drop
College of Lisbon marine geologist João Duarte suspects the plate started to separate down the center after water leaked by means of a heavily-fractured higher layer. However Duarte’s work hasn’t but gone by means of peer assessment or been accepted by a tutorial journal, so it’s doable that his origin story for brand new subduction zones gained’t maintain water.
“It’s one of many greatest unsolved issues in plate tectonics,” Duarte advised NatGeo.
Closing The Hole
Some fashions of plate tectonics, the gradual motion of plates across the globe, recommend that Canada and Europe might step by step migrate in direction of one another.
If Duarte’s analysis is right and the plate beneath Portugal is splitting, then that might be step one towards a shrunken Atlantic Ocean that brings the 2 collectively, leaving a path of highly effective earthquakes in its wake.
READ MORE: A tectonic plate might have peeled aside—and that might shrink the Atlantic Ocean [National Geographic]
Extra on plate tectonics: The Tectonic Exercise of Earth Might Be the Key To Supporting Life