Leak in Pacific Ocean Floor Could Cause Massive Earthquake, New Footage Reveals
New footage has revealed an unnerving leak in the Pacific Ocean floor off the coasts of the United States and Canada. The leak, which has been called Pythia’s Oasis, could potentially cause a massive earthquake in the region. According to scientists, this particular feature has never been observed before, and it is part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), a large fault line that stretches from Vancouver Island to Northern California.
Methane bubbles were initially observed coming from a mile beneath the ocean, but further research from the University of Washington has revealed that the liquid that is considerably warmer than the ocean water is seeping out of the ocean floor some 50 miles offshore from Newport, Oregon. The researchers believe that this water leaking out might be connected to the CSZ, and could be vital in preventing earthquakes.
Subduction Zones and Earthquakes
Subduction zones are where two tectonic plates are meeting with one another, and this fluid may be acting as a pressure regulator down between the continental plate and the ocean plate that are bashing up against each other some two miles beneath the ocean. The water temperature down at the fault is about 300 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which would explain why the water is gushing out “like a firehose” and is warmer than ocean water.
The danger of leaks such as Pythia’s Oasis is that if more water is leaking out, it could be causing an increase in pressure at the fault, leading to stress between the two plates. If that stress builds up and the plates slip, there may be an earthquake. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor the situation and understand how to prevent future earthquakes.
Fluid Pressure and Megathrust Slip Behavior
Evan Solomon, a University of Washington Oceanographer and the co-author of a paper about this phenomenon in the journal Scientific Advances, explained that “the megathrust fault zone is like an air hockey table. If the fluid pressure is high, it’s like the air is turned on, meaning there’s less friction, and the two plates can slip. If the fluid pressure is lower, the two plates will lock. That’s when stress can build up. Fluid released from the fault zone is like leaking lubricant. That’s bad news for earthquake hazards: less lubricant means stress can build to create a damaging quake.”
The Importance of Pythia’s Oasis
Pythia’s Oasis provides a rare window into the processes occurring deep in the seafloor, and its chemistry suggests that this fluid comes from near the plate boundary. This means that the nearby faults regulate fluid pressure and megathrust slip behavior along the central Cascadia Subduction Zone. While the authors of the paper aren’t sure if Pythia’s Oasis is the only seep of its kind, they believe there could be others around the CSZ, which is an interesting piece of news for seismologists.
What Does This Mean for the Pacific Coast?
If this leak in the ocean floor off the Pacific coast of the USA and Canada is not monitored and dealt with, it could lead to a massive earthquake, potentially causing significant damage and loss of life. Therefore, it is essential to keep a close eye on this situation and take action to prevent any future earthquakes.
The leak in the Pacific Ocean floor off the coasts of the United States and Canada, called Pythia’s Oasis, could potentially cause a massive earthquake in the region. Scientists have discovered that the liquid seeping out of the ocean floor is considerably warmer than the ocean water around it and could be connected to the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), a large fault line that stretches from Vancouver