The investigation of the fault system that joins the European and African plates has revealed the exact location of the boundary between the two tectonic plates. ICM seismologists have evaluated the ability of these plates to cause large earthquakes that, in turn, “could trigger tsunamis devastating”This system of active faults extends over 300 kilometers and is considered the most important in the Iberian PeninsulaThe work, published by the journal Nature Communications and in which the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) has also participated ), has revealed that this zone has absorbed almost all the deformation of the plate shock in this region. Investigation of the fault system that joins the European and African plates has revealed the exact location of the boundary between the two tectonic plates, at the Alboran Sea region. ICM seismologists have also evaluated the potential capacity of these plates to cause large earthquakes that, in turn, “could trigger devastating tsunamis on the coast,” according to the researchers. The work defines for the first time the complex geometry of this system of active faults and tells how these have been moving during the last five million years.” The quality of our data has made it possible to study, for the first time, the deep structure of these faults, and thereby quantify the deformation they accumulate. The results show that it is one of the most important fault systems in the region and that it has been absorbing most of the deformation caused by the collision of the Eurasian and African plates”, explained the marine geoscientist from the ICM-CSIC Laura Gómez de la Peña. According to the researcher, although the geological structure of the subsoil of the Alboran Sea has been extensively studied since the 1970s, until now the data was not sufficiently precise to understand the tectonics of the area. of the peninsulaNow, the quality of the data and the modern methodologies used have made it possible to characterize in detail a system of active faults that extends over 300 kilometers in length and is now considered the most important, in terms of accumulation of deformation , from the Iberian Peninsula.”To carry out the study we used the latest data acquisition techniques on board the Spanish oceanographic vessel Sarmiento de G amboa, and the processing was specifically designed to be able to observe the structures described now for the first time”, has detailed the ICM-CSIC researcher César R. Ranero, who has also participated in the study. Until now it was unknown whether the Alboran Sea harbored large active faults, as well as the exact location of the tectonic boundary where the European and African plates collide, so these results “are key to reassessing the seismic and tsunami risk to which the coastal areas of the western Mediterranean are exposed” , according to the scientists. In another scientific paper prepared by the same group of experts in collaboration with Geomar (Germany) and INGV (Italy), the authors delve into the tsunamigenic potential of this plate boundary and suggest that it could be greater than what was believed. According to the researchers, most previous studies on seismic and tsunami risk did not correctly consider these large faults due to It was due to the lack of data, so the risk had been underestimated. “These studies are a first assessment of the seismic and tsunami potential of these large faults that until now were practically unknown to us and that must be thoroughly evaluated in future studies” , concluded Gómez de la Peña.
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