As we move into an era of the climate change emergency where terrifying news comes out daily, another fine (read: horrifying) example of this has been laid bare. New stories come out all the time that show us just where the problems of the planet are starting from, and it’s often in the most important, foundational areas.
Scientists have recently revealed that a tectonic planet that is ‘peeling apart’ could lead to a significant shrinking of the Atlantic. As you might imagine, this is not a good thing.
With new stories breaking all the time, it’s hard to keep up with what new ways this environmental apocalypse is going to play out. Indeed, according to the Instituto Dom Luiz at the University of Lisbon, and their scientist Joao Duarte, we could be about to see something horrifying take place.
Indeed, he has found a location around 155-miles from Cape St. Vincent, Portugal, that is “peeling” apart.
This process was previously unknown and was previously only something that was found to have taken place underneath continents. This is quite a big thing, despite the peeling area being somewhat flat. This location, the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain, is peeling, and it’s not a good thing.
Duarte, a lead researcher on a study that was given to the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Australia, has been involved in this research for some time. They found that an earthquake that had taken place off Portugal sometime in 1755, which played a role in the destruction of the city of Lisbon at the time, could be involved in this happening. It’s also linked to a 1969 earthquake that took place near Lisbon, too.
According to Duarte, speaking to Fox News: “The 20 upper kilometers of the plate is made of soft rocks that are light and the bottom is dense and heavy (because the plate is very old, more than 100 million years),
“This causes this lower part to detach from the upper part and sink in the mantle by the pull of gravity," he added, noting that the process is aided by the infiltration of water that softens the upper part of the plate.
This could be caused by a subduction zone – when a tectonic plate falls beneath another. Duarte explained, saying: “We know that there are some margins of continents that do not have subduction zones, such as the margins of the Atlantic, and some margins of continents that have subduction zones, such as the margins of the Pacific (the ring of fire),
“But we do not understand yet very well how they form.
"This situation here may correspond to a rare example in which one subduction zone is just starting. And for that one of the plates has to slowly start peeling down, which is what we see (both in our observations/imaging and with some computational models with which we managed to reproduce the process).”
In terms of a potential shrinking of the ocean, Duarte said that: “It makes sense that a new supercontinent will form in the future as the result of the closing of the Atlantic,”
So, I think it would be safe to say that, for the near future, we should probably watch this new environmental change take place with crossed fingers. In generations to come, this could have a pretty significant role to play in how the world is shaped.