Tectonic Plate “Peeling” Off The Coast of Portugal Might Trigger Catastrophic Earthquakes

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Five decades ago a massive earthquake which took place near the cost of Portugal triggered a powerful tsunami which killed a few people. Two centuries before a stronger earthquake destroyed the city of Lisbon and killed more than 100,000 people. In most cases, two earthquakes which took place in the same area aren’t something significant. However, the source of these earthquakes has fascinated seismologists since the tremors were tracked down to the flatbeds of the ocean, which placed at a considerable distance from faults and cracks caused by the movement of the tectonic plate.

Since the area is quite quiet the source of the phenomenon has remained elusive. Some researchers believe that a tectonic plate is peeling into two distinct layers, with the top leaving the bottom, an event that hasn’t been observed in the past. This “peeling” may lead to the formation of a new subduction zone, which an area was one tectonic plate is pushed beneath another.

Tectonic Plate “Peeling” Off The Coast of Portugal Might Trigger Catastrophic Earthquakes

It is thought that this is the first known case of an oceanic plate which is affected by peeling. It may also mark another phenomenon since the Atlantic Ocean appears to be shrinking, and some simulations anticipate that this will push Europe towards Canada.  It is well-known that Earths tectonic plates are continually moving. As time passed this movement has led to the formation and break-up of supercontinents. The subduction zones play an essential role by forcing the oceanic crust and upper mantle to go deeper, a process which recycles many rocks and moves the continents in a specific direction.

A team of researchers used seismic data to create a complex simulation which was able to generate a model. The model suggests that a small subduction zone is forming the area. The peeling process may have been initiated by a geological process called serpentinization, during which water that grows to the cracks can convert a layer into soft minerals. The research was well-received, and it may be published in a journal in the future.

Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.