Three moderate earthquakes rocked the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the central Atlantic Ocean early this morning. The first was a 5.0 magnitude earthquake followed by a 4.8 5 minutes later. The last one, a 4.7, hit 35 minutes later. They were all about 6.2 miles deep. Due to their intensity, there is no threat of a tsunami in the Atlantic Basin, including the east coast of the United States, due to these earthquakes at this time.
An equally strong 5.0 earthquake in this region a week ago.
The Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge separates the South American Plate from the African Plate. In this part of the world, the two plates pull apart, triggering earthquakes when they separate above the ridge.
These plates are based on the scientific theory of plate tectonics, which describes the large-scale movement of the plates that make up the Earth’s lithosphere. Scientists believe that tectonic processes began on Earth between 3.3 and 3.5 billion years ago, building on the concept of continental drift, a scientific concept developed at the turn of the 20th century. Continental drift is the gradual movement of continents on the Earth’s surface through geological time.
Tsunamis are giant waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea. In the depths of the ocean, tsunami waves do not increase significantly in height. But as the waves move inland, they accumulate to higher and higher heights as the depth of the ocean decreases. According to the National Ocean Service, the speed of tsunami waves depends on the depth of the ocean rather than the distance from the source of the wave. Tsunami waves can travel as fast as jets over deep water, only slowing down when they reach shallow water. While tsunamis are often referred to as tidal waves, this name is discouraged by oceanographers because the tides have little to do with these giant waves.
These earthquakes add to an active time in the United States this Memorial Day holiday weekend. As of Sunday evening, more than 130 earthquakes rocked the continental United States. Overnight, a strong 6.1 earthquake rocked south central Alaska. And seismic activity continues on the Big Island of Hawaii due to volcanic unrest.