How tectonic faults form: a new theory of rifting

(ORDO NEWS) — Most people have probably heard of tectonic faults. After a long study, scientists found that some of these faults were formed due to the drift of tectonic plates.

We are talking about the so-called rifts – these are extended abysses where the lithospheric plates parted. For a long time it was believed that they are formed due to the fact that pressure increases at the junction of lithospheric plates due to the accumulation of magma.

This leads to the fact that magma literally pushes the plates apart, forming a fault – a rift. It turned out that this may not be the only reason.

How tectonic faults form a new theory of rifting 2

Drift of lithospheric plates

Scientists monitored the process of formation of rift faults (rifting) in Iceland. The study lasted for many years and made it possible to assert that the pressure created by the accumulation of magma under the junction of the lithospheric plates is not the only reason for the formation of rifts on Earth.

Scientists explored a region in Iceland that is now known as Holuhraun, a lava field that formed at the point where two lithospheric plates meet.

In fact, Holuhraun arose at the site where a rift fault formed, which allowed magma to erupt to the surface. After careful observation and careful research, geologists realized that the pressure of the magma from below could not be the main factor in the formation of the rift.

An international team of scientists suggested that the main reason is the slow drift of lithospheric plates as they move in opposite directions.

The distance between them gradually increases, forming a rift fault. Of course, this does not mean that the theory that magma contributes to the formation of faults is not true.

The study of scientists shows that there may be several reasons for the formation of rifts, and in some cases magma causes the plates to move apart, and in others – the own movement of these plates.

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