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A “Ring of Fire” may be forming in the Atlantic Ocean

A “Ring of Fire” may be forming in the Atlantic Ocean

Recently, we have witnessed many unusual (or unusual) mutations on our planet. Tectonic plates crack, stronger El Niño, more wildfires, etc.

Now, the Atlantic may be shifting from a phase of growth to a phase of contraction. Geologists believe this is caused by the disintegration of tectonic plates, causing volcanic lines to appear along the coasts of Africa and Iberia.

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Over billions of years, the continents have moved closer and separated several times. There is no doubt that this will happen again. But what is uncertain is when and whether many continents will retreat to the North Pole or the Equator.

According to the IFL ScienceDr. João Duarte, from the University of Lisbon (Portugal), leads the team that believes it can predict both (at least if it has a few hundred million years of flexibility in the latter question);

Atlantic Ocean

  • The origins of the Atlantic Ocean go back to about 180 million years ago, when a rift divided Pangea (the continent that united the entire land layer of the planet), turning the Americas to the west and Asia to the east;
  • Along the way, subduction zones formed around the Pacific Rim as each continent pushed the edges of oceanic plates into the mantle;
  • It happened in a difficult way, as these regions gave rise to the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, the place that collects the majority of the most active volcanoes and the largest earthquakes.

If the process reverses and the Atlantic Ocean begins to close, new subduction zones could form along opposing coastlines.

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“The ancient oceanic lithosphere is thick and strong, making it resistant to breaking and bending,” Duarte and co-authors write in a new paper.

“The only force that can start a subduction zone is another subduction zone,” the expert told IFL Science [se você excluir impactos de meteoritos e plumas do super manto]”.

Duarte and his colleagues believe that the seeds of future subduction zones lie in the western Mediterranean, where the ancient region connected Africa and Europe.

If this research model is correct, the giant inactive subduction zone beneath the Strait of Gibraltar will invade the Atlantic Ocean. This will begin the process of pulling the Atlantic oceanic plate under Africa and Europe, causing the ocean to close.

“Subduction invasion is inherently a three-dimensional process that requires advanced modeling tools and supercomputers that were not available just a few years ago. Now, we can simulate the formation of the Gibraltar Arc in great detail and also how it might evolve in the future,” Duarte said in a statement. Deep future.

The Gibraltar subduction zone was once very active, as Africa was moving north, but has disappeared in the past few million years, leading to it being ignored by models of future tectonics.

However, Duarte concludes that you can't keep a good subduction zone underneath forever, and he further predicts that the area will rebound in about 20 million years.

Atlantic Ring of Fire

One side of the ocean cannot form a ring. The Atlantic Ocean may have little chance of closing if this is the only subduction zone in the future. However, things could change in the Western Atlantic sooner.

There are two other subduction zones on the other side of the Atlantic: the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean and the Scottish Arc near Antarctica. However, these subduction zones invaded the Atlantic Ocean several million years ago. Studying Gibraltar is an invaluable opportunity because it allows you to observe the process in the early stages, when it is still happening.

Dr. João Duarte from the University of Lisbon (Portugal) in a statement

“Subductions formed [no Atlântico Ocidental] About 50 million years ago it was moving slowly. In order to overcome the opening of the Atlantic Ocean, they would have to spread and eventually force the mid-Atlantic Ridge to subduct. Duarte said this could take more than 20 million years IFL Science.

Close one, open another

Therefore, it can be assumed that closing the Atlantic Ocean means that the Pacific Ocean will open up more. “Everything leads us to believe that the Pacific Ocean will close…,” Duarte stressed. IFL Science.

This has been bothering me for a while… The solution is that another ocean must open up, possibly the Indian Ocean, or even an ocean that could divide Africa and Eurasia.

Dr. João Duarte, from the University of Lisbon (Portugal), in IFL Science

The doctor realizes that the opening of the East African Rift, which will create a new small continent, could be the beginning of that, specifically with the fissures in Asia.

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The study was published in geology.