New subduction zone may close Atlantic ocean


In a new study in Geology, João Duarte, a geophysicist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues at the University of Lisbon in Portugal have proposed that this transformation may occur due to a convergence of compressive forces. The process is related to a theory, first suggested in the early 1990s, that once subduction starts along one margin in a basin, subduction along others tends to follow. Currently, the Atlantic has three isolated subduction zones: the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, the Scotia Arc in the South Atlantic, and the Gibraltar Arc in the Mediterranean. Duarte and his colleagues think there may be a new subduction zone forming off the coast of Portugal in connection with the ongoing subduction of the Gibraltar Arc.

The Atlantic Ocean currently has three subduction zones: in the Caribbean, the South Atlantic and the Mediterranean. A new one may be forming off the coast of Portugal. Credit: Kathleen Cantner, AGI

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