(ORDO NEWS) — For a long time, scientists have tried to solve a very complex tectonic riddle. They were interested in “quiet earthquakes” and the reasons that provoked their occurrence. The answer turned out to be very simple. Most likely a similar phenomenon is caused by seamounts.
Reported by Scitechdaily.
The Hikurangi margin, which is located next to the North Island, which is part of New Zealand, is considered to be the place where two tectonic plates sink quite deeply under each other. The process involves the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. Scientists called this place the subduction zone. Every year in this region, an average of 15 thousand earthquakes are recorded. Most of them are very weak and go unnoticed by the locals.
Experts from all over the world tried to establish why there are not only “quiet” tremors, but also stronger ones. The latest research provides an answer to this question.
Earthquakes occur from behind the ocean floor. Plates in the northern part of the island move slowly and provoke tremors. At the same time, plate blocking occurs in the southern part of the island. As a result, conditions arise for the plates to abruptly separate, which becomes the cause of a strong earthquake.
Geophysicist Christine Chesley is surprised how such a transition from weak to strong enough can occur in one small area.
The specialists managed to obtain more accurate data about the region and the events taking place in it at the beginning of winter 2018. Then a special deep-sea cruise was sent to the island, which collected data for 29 days. They were used to better understand seamounts and what role they play in causing earthquakes.
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