The study revealed that the plates in the interior of the Pacific Ocean are breaking apart

The study challenges some of the assumptions of plate tectonics theory

Our oceans remain the great unknown

The oceans are an ever-expanding source of knowledge. Since this is not our medium, we have always tried to dominate from a distance. The source of all kinds of myths and legends, such as ghost waves, proved true, there has always been a restless curiosity to know it better, after all, our species has recently “discovered” a new ocean. . At the moment, efforts have been made to unravel how plate tectonics works, and although there are very solid theories about it, it seems that we are now on our way. Way to perfect them A new study examines how these work.

The plates of the Pacific Ocean are breaking apart

A The study was published in December in Geophysical Research Letters and directed by Erkan Gün has shed light on aspects of plate tectonics that may revise the current understanding of this geological phenomenon. whose theory was propounded half a century ago.

Traditionally, the theory states that tectonic plates, broad layers of the Earth's crust, move and interact with the Earth's surface with rigidity that is evidence of any kind of change. However, this new discovery suggests that the western Pacific plateaus, rather than rigid structures, They have weak points to be stretched by the forces exerted on the edges of the plate. In the words of Erkan Gün University of Toronto:

We know that geological deformations, such as faults, occur within continental plates far from plate boundaries. But we don't know what happens in oceanic plates

This discovery challenges what we previously thought that geological formations such as oceanic plateaus are resistant to erosion. Studies suggest that oceanic plates They are not flat and immutable bodies. On the contrary, they are fragile and subject to significant deformations. What's more, as a tectonic plate sinks into distant trenches, the plateaus are stretched, making them even weaker.

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The researchers focused their analysis on four oceanic plateaus where they found reliable patterns of deformation and magmatic activity between them. These patterns suggest that The plateaus were torn apart by the Pacific plate boundary by tractional forces. Although this study was limited to a small number of plateaus, the findings provide a solid basis for inferring that similar phenomena may occur in other parts of the Pacific Ocean, and perhaps even in other oceans.

In short:

  • This new discovery challenges some points of the theory of plate tectonics.
  • The study indicates that the western Pacific Plateaus are weak points that are being extended by forces along the plate margin. Previously they were thought to be very difficult.
  • Oceanic plates are prone to deformation and are not flat surfaces, but trenches, submarine mountains and mountain ranges. As a tectonic plate sinks into distant trenches, plateaus become elongated and more fragile.
  • The current study analyzed four oceanic plateaus and found that they have similar deformation and magma characteristics, suggesting that they were torn apart by tractional forces at the edge of the Pacific Plate.
  • Although only four plateaus have been studied, the researchers believe they can serve as relevant information for the rest.

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Misty Tate

"Freelance twitter advocate. Hardcore food nerd. Avid writer. Infuriatingly humble problem solver."

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