Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The plate boundary between Africa and the Iberian Peninsula may trigger giant tsunamis

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The fault system linking the European and African plates extends over a size of 300 kilometers / ICM-CSIC. Credit: ICM-CSIC

A brand new research led by the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) in Barcelona and the Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA) has revealed the precise location of the boundary between the European and African tectonic plates, situated within the Alboran Sea area. The work additionally evaluates its potential capability to provide giant earthquakes that, in flip, may set off devastating tsunamis on the coast.

The paper, lately revealed in Nature Communications, defines for the primary time the advanced geometry of this energetic faults system and describes how they’ve been shifting during the last 5 million years. Finally, the work demonstrates that the system has absorbed virtually all the deformation from plate collision on this area.

“The quality of our data has allowed us to study, for the first time, the deep structure of these faults, and thus quantify the deformation they accumulate. The results show that this is one of the most important fault systems in the region and that it has been absorbing most of the deformation caused by the collision of the Eurasian and African plates,” explains Laura Gómez de la Peña, ICM-CSIC researcher and lead writer of the research.

Although the geological construction of the Alboran Sea subsurface has been extensively studied because the Seventies, till now the information weren’t sufficiently exact to grasp the tectonics of the realm. However, the standard of the information and the fashionable methodologies used to hold out this work has made it attainable to characterize intimately a system of energetic faults that extends over 300 kilometers lengthy and is now thought of an important, by way of deformation accumulation, within the Iberian Peninsula.

“To carry out the study we used the latest data acquisition techniques on board the Spanish oceanographic vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa, and the processing was specifically designed to be able to observe the structures described now for the first time,” particulars the ICM-CSIC researcher and ICREA professor César R. Ranero, who has additionally participated within the research.

Until now, it was unknown whether or not the Alboran Sea had giant energetic faults, in addition to the precise location of the tectonic boundary the place the European and African plates collide. This data is essential to reassess the seismic and tsunami threat to which the coastal areas of the western Mediterranean are uncovered.

In reality, in one other research by the identical group of consultants in collaboration with GEOMAR (Germany) and INGV (Italy) the authors delve into the tsunamigenic potential of this plate boundary and counsel that this can be higher than beforehand thought. Most earlier research on seismic and tsunami threat didn’t accurately contemplate these giant faults attributable to lack of knowledge, so the chance had been underestimated.

“These studies are a first appraisal of the seismic and tsunami potential of these large faults, which until now were almost completely unknown to us and which must be thoroughly evaluated in future studies,” concludes Gómez de la Peña.

Deep earthquakes counsel well-hydrated Mariana subduction zone

More info:
Laura Gómez de la Peña et al, Evidence for a creating plate boundary within the western Mediterranean, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-31895-z

Provided by
Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC)

The plate boundary between Africa and the Iberian Peninsula may trigger giant tsunamis (2022, September 23)
retrieved 23 September 2022
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