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The Atlantic Ocean is being invaded

Published Mar 23rd, 2024 9:01AM EDT
Image: MARIMA/Adobe

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A research paper claims that the Atlantic Ocean is being invaded and that with the way things are going, we could end up with an Atlantic “Ring of Fire” similar to the well-known Pacific Ring of Fire.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Pacific Ring of Fire, it’s essentially one of the most iconic geological features found on our planet. This ring is home to around 90 percent of earthquakes and 75 percent of volcanoes. Now, researchers say that a ring of fire in the Atlantic could form thanks to an invasion of the Gibraltar subduction zone.

According to the new paper, which is featured in the February issue of the journal Geology, the Gibraltar subduction zone could very well extend out into the Atlantic. When combined with other subduction zones found on the opposite side of the Atlantic, it would create the potential for an Atlantic Ring of Fire.

However, this invasion isn’t something that will happen quickly. The researchers say that the extension of the Gibraltar subduction zone into the Atlantic, and the subsequent development of a ring of fire could take up to 20 million years. But the amount of movement that it would take to shut off the Atlantic completely is immense. We’d need several subduction zones to form around the edge of the ocean.

Subduction zones form when one tectonic plate pushes down on another, forcing it below the mantle. This causes heat from the mantle to melt the rock, creating magma that ultimately drives volcanic activity. Thankfully, though, the Atlantic’s oceanic lithosphere is thick and strong, which should make it more resistant to breaking and bending, the researchers explain in their paper.

Of course, as I noted above, this isn’t something we’re likely to see happen in our lifetime. But it is good to know what lies ahead so that future generations can prepare, and possibly find ways to stop such a thing from happening. Another ring of fire around the Atlantic would undoubtedly lead to more death and destruction because of volcanic activity and earthquakes, something nobody wants to see.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.