Science: A “river of rocks” under the Caribbean Sea keeps Central America emerging

Slight changes in the force of gravity revealed a hot “river of rocks” pushing out of the Pacific Ocean through an inlet under Central America into the Caribbean.

This underground current began to flow eight million years ago, when the Central American Gateway was opened, raising the covered sea floor by several hundred meters and tilting northeast toward the Lesser Antilles. Researchers from the University of Houston published the results in Nature Communications.

Geologists have long believed that tectonic plates move by being dragged down by the weight of their sunken parts and that a warmer, smoother substrate, called the muriosphere, acts as a negative lubricant. But the new study finds that the layer is actually flowing with force, and moving fast enough to drive the plate motions.

Without your support, Central America will be under the sea

“Without the additional support resulting from this flow into the Moorish atmosphere, parts of Central America will remain below sea level. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans will be linked without the need for the Panama Canal,” said Lorenzo Cooley, co-author of the study. statement. , Assistant Professor of Geophysics, Geodynamics and Mantle Structure in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

The results are based on changes in the force of gravity detected by satellites within the Caribbean and on CT images of the mantle, similar to a CT scan, of the mauri envelope beneath the Caribbean.

They have implications for understanding the shape of the Earth’s surface, and its evolution over time through the emergence and disappearance of shallow seas, low-lying bridges, and forces that move tectonic plates and cause earthquakes.

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Another great finding, according to the researchers, is that the Moorosphere moves about six inches per year, which is three times faster than the average plate. You can move independently from the overlapping panels and pull them in a different direction.

“This challenges the notion that subduction is always the driver,” explained Johnny Wu, co-author of the study and assistant professor of skeletal geology, tectonics and mantle structure. “Think of the panels moving like an air hockey puck and lubricating from the bottom. Instead, what we found is that the table air hockey imposes its own currents on the moving disc, which creates movement. From bottom to top it is not well recognized, and that is quantified here.” “.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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