The “Ring of Fire” will close the Atlantic Ocean to Gibraltar, according to Portuguese scientists!

The “Ring of Fire” will close the Atlantic Ocean to Gibraltar, according to Portuguese scientists!
Beneath the Strait of Gibraltar lies the secret that explains the geological evolution of the Atlantic Ocean over millions of years.
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According to a recent study, The subduction zone under the Strait of Gibraltar It can extend into the Atlantic Ocean, Contributing to the formation of a ring of fire similar to the Pacific Ring.

Explains the study published in the prestigious journal Geology How the oceans, even though they seem eternal, have their own life cycle. In the case of the Atlantic Ocean, which was born about 180 million years ago, during the fragmentation of the supercontinent Pangea, This cycle may lead to its closure in about 20 million years.

New subduction zone

The process behind this transformation It is known as the Wilson cycle, Which involves the formation and closure of oceans over hundreds of millions of years.

For an ocean like the Atlantic to start closing, New subduction zones are needed, Where one tectonic plate sinks beneath the other. However, these areas are difficult to form. Because it requires breaking and bending very strong plates.

Dr. João Duarte, study coordinator and researcher at the Dom Luiz Institute at the University of Lisbon, explained The process of invasion by subduction could be the key to this phenomenon.

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This process includes that subduction zones can migrate from dying oceans, such as the Mediterranean, towards newer oceans, such as the Atlantic, Which led to the closure of the latter.

When will the Atlantic Ocean close?

The advanced computational models used in the study are shown How will the subduction zone currently located under the Strait of Gibraltar extend into the Atlantic Ocean? Formation of the Atlantic subduction system.

Subduction is a three-dimensional process that requires advanced modeling tools and high-speed computers.

This movement, which is described as the “invasion” of subduction, The closure of the Atlantic Ocean could accelerate and lead to increased seismic and volcanic activity in the region.

The study also sheds light The importance of the Gibraltar subduction zone It was thought to be inactive due to its slowing down over the past few million years. On the contrary, the results indicate It will remain active for another 20 million years, before accelerating and contributing to the closure of the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to the Strait of Gibraltar. There are other subduction zones in the Atlantic Ocean, such as the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean and the Scotia Arc near Antarctica. These regions, although they invaded the Atlantic Ocean millions of years ago, provide invaluable insight into the ocean closing process in its early stages.

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Article reference:

João C. Duarte, Nicolas Riel, Felipe M. Rosas, Anton Popov, Christian Schuler, Boris J.P. Kaus; The Gibraltar subduction zone intrudes into the Atlantic Ocean. geology 2024; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G51654.1

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