A new study published in the scientific journal Geology details how, at some point in the future, the Atlantic Ocean's seafloor will find itself embarking on a journey to our planet's core.The study, whose lead author is João Duarte of the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, explains that, as scientific evidence shows, a new subduction zone is just now forming close to Spain's coastline.
The birth of this new subduction zone will one day translate into the Atlantic Ocean seafloor's beginning to sink into Earth's mantle, Live Science reports.
The researchers explain that subduction zones have formed many times in our planet's history.
They emerge whenever two tectonic plates come a tad too close to one another, and one of them finds itself mounted by the other.
Such phenomena trigger powerful earthquakes, specialists say. What's more, they influence the ways in which continents are distributed across our planet's surface.
The same source informs us that, as the Atlantic Ocean seafloor starts to disappear, the distance between continents is bound to shrink.
Geological evidence indicates that, several times in our planet's history, such tectonic movements brought continents so close to one another that they actually collided.
João Duarte and his fellow researchers concluded that a new subduction zone is forming just off Spain's coastline, after spending some time closely monitoring and recording the particularities or underwater faults close to this country and west of Gibraltar.
The area they focused on is known to specialists as the Southwest Iberia Margin, and it has triggered several major earthquakes along the years.
One of them was the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, during which some 10,000 people lost their lives.
Presently, the researchers reassure that subduction zones don't just spring into life overnight, and that it takes millions of years for them to form and start reshaping our planet's surface.
Otherwise put, we can go about business as usual.