New US President Joe Biden wants to bring his country closer to Europe again, healing the rift caused by his predecessor, Donald Trump. But nature has other plans.
The tectonic plates, on which North and South America “tread”, move four centimeters each year from the plates of Europe and Africa, as the Atlantic Ocean widens, pushing the continents farther and farther on both sides. shores, according to a new British scientific study, which has an explanation for this geological phenomenon: The heat transfer currents from the bowels of the planet.
Researchers led by seismologist Dr. Matthew Agius of the University of Southampton, who published the paper in the journal Nature, believe that the continuous emergence of material from the depths of the Earth is pushing America further and further away from Europe and Africa.
Approximately in the middle of the Atlantic seabed is the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which “gives birth” to new tectonic plates and is the dividing line between those moving west and those pushing east. As the plates move away from each other, the gap is filled by new rocks emerging from the ridge. The driving force behind the removal of the Atlantic plates still remains a mystery.
Now, for the first time, scientists have found evidence of an upward movement of materials in the mantle – the intermediate layer between the planet's crust and core – from depths of at least 600 kilometers below the Mid-Atlantic Back. This emergence appears to push the plates down, causing them to gradually move away. Until now, such upward movements below the ridges were considered to start only from much shallower depths of about 60 km.
The new data came with the help of two research vessels (RV Langseth and RRV Discovery) that installed 39 seismographs in the depths of the Atlantic, thus achieving the first large-scale and high-resolution imaging of the mantle under the Mid-Atlantic Back, at depths of 410 to 660 km below the seabed. Thus, an unexpected, slow movement of materials from the depths of the mantle was detected, something that had not been observed anywhere on Earth in the past.
“There is a widening distance between North America and Europe, which is not due to political or philosophical differences, but to the thermal currents of the mantle (synagogue phenomenon),” said researcher Dr. Nick Harmon.
“The new research is impressive and challenges the established theories that the mid-ocean ridges play a passive role in plate tectonics. “On the contrary, it seems that the plates in places like the Mid-Atlantic Back have forces that play an important role in removing the newly formed plaques,” said Mike Kendall, a professor at Oxford University.