The Pacific Ocean always hides mysteries, lately fluid leaks have been observed from some faults that act as a lubricant. This phenomenon is happening particularly in the Cascadia subduction zone , it is thought that the low pressure could be a signal of an incoming earthquake.
The study was carried out by a team from the University of Washington, the results were made public in January 2023. The area in question is located 50 km off the coast of Oregon . The spills recorded have a different composition than that of the water in the area.
These leaks could act as “lubricants” and in case of high pressure they allow the various faults to slide close to each other, but if the pressure drops it can be dangerous, this has never been observed before and all this can be connected to possible earthquakes with possible very high magnitude.
But how did the research team realize the presence of this fluid?
It all started on a science cruise aboard the RV Thomas G. Thompson. The ship’s sonar was able to detect many bubbles on the seabed and with more in-depth analysis we realized the particularity of the area which was then called “Pythia’s Oasis”.
Scholars have hypothesized that these spills may resemble the spray of fire hoses and that they have a different consistency than those of the surrounding areas. The temperature of these spills is about 9° with respect to the surrounding waters and most likely originally could be between 150° and 250°. Furthermore, another characteristic is that they are rich in boron and lithium and poor in chlorine, potassium and magnesium.
All this led the researchers to think that it could be fluids linked to the Cascadia egathrust , a powerful fault system present in the area and in particular from an area of about 4km deep.
The release of these fluids decreases the pressure between the particles of the ocean floor and therefore this increases the friction between the plates present, triggering a quite powerful reaction, because if the pressure further lowers the two plates they cannot flow together. with the other neighbors, this leads them to accumulate stress and to trigger possible earthquakes. However, it should be emphasized that since it is a phenomenon observed for the first time, it would be necessary to investigate further to be certain of what scholars have hypothesized. Video: