Sleeping subduction zone could awaken and form a new ‘Ring of Fire’ that swallows the Atlantic Ocean

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A subduction zone below the Gibraltar Strait is creeping westward and could one day “invade” the Atlantic Ocean, causing the ocean to slowly close up, new research suggests.

The subduction zone, also known as the Gibraltar arc or trench, currently sits in a narrow ocean corridor between Portugal and Morocco. Its westward migration began around 30 million years ago, when a subduction zone formed along the northern coast of what is now the Mediterranean Sea, but it has stalled in the last 5 million years, prompting some scientists to question whether the Gibraltar arc is still active today.

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