Study: The "Ring of Fire" under the Strait of science Gibraltar may engulf the Atlantic Ocean Study: The "Ring of Fire" under the Strait of science Gibraltar may engulf the Atlantic Ocean

Study: The "Ring of Fire" under the Strait of science Gibraltar may engulf the Atlantic Ocean

Study: The "Ring of Fire" under the Strait of science Gibraltar may engulf the Atlantic Ocean

A new Portuguese study warns that a large-scale subduction zone called the "Ring of Fire", currently located under the Strait of Gibraltar, may swallow the Atlantic Ocean.
The research team believes that this subduction zone may grow and expand westward toward the Atlantic Ocean, ultimately being responsible for the "closing" or contraction of the ocean basin.

The team used computer modeling to simulate the subduction zone since its appearance during the Oligocene epoch (34 million to 23 million years ago), and discovered that the "ingestion" of the ocean would occur "soon" in geological terms (about 20 million years later).

Subduction zones are defined as sites on Earth that involve the drift of one tectonic plate beneath the other, and are responsible for strong seismic activity.

Study leader JoΓ£o Duarte, a professor of tectonics at the Faculty of Science at the University of Lisbon in Portugal, and his colleagues warn that entire oceans could close off if new “subduction zones” form.

“Subduction zones cause ocean closures by pulling the ocean floor into the mantle, bringing the continents together,” Duarte said.

The main tectonic plates meet at the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Spain and Morocco, that is, the Eurasian plate and the African plate.

In the subduction zone, the African plate sinks beneath the Eurasian plate, leading to dangerous seismic activity.

Currently, the subduction zone beneath the Strait of Gibraltar is “dormant,” meaning the plate’s sliding speed is “very slow.”

Duarte says subduction zones can grow so that they enter another part of the ocean, a process he calls “subduction invasion.”

The subduction zone below the Strait of Gibraltar is currently about 125 miles (201.1 km) long, making it one of the smallest subduction zones in the world.

But Professor Duarte said that 20 million years from now, it could be about 500 miles (804.67 km) long.

The study was published in the Journal of Geology.

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