Arctic could heat up due to earthquakes

Arctic could heat up due to earthquakes

February 01, 2023

A new hypothesis about the global warming causes was put forward by scientists from several Russian universities.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The reason for the sharp warming of the climate in the Arctic in 1979–1980 could be not human activity, but powerful earthquakes. The widely held view that global warming is mainly due to the carbon footprint of industry has recently been challenged.

The seismogenic-trigger hypothesis was put forward by scientists from several Russian scientific organizations, RIA Novosti reports with reference to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Scientists came to the conclusion that it was earthquakes that gave a sharp start to warming in the Arctic in the late 1970s, because at that time there was no particular increase in industrial production.

The researchers found a spatio-temporal correlation between the onset of warming in the Arctic and the strongest earthquakes in the Aleutian subduction zone closest to the Arctic shelf – this is a zone at the boundary of lithospheric plates.

The correlation appears with a time shift of about 20 years. Deformation tectonic waves from earthquakes, moving at a speed of about 100 kilometers per year, in 20 years, cover exactly the distance of two thousand kilometers between the Aleutian arc and the Arctic shelf.

These waves contributed to the destruction of natural methane storages in the frozen rocks of the Arctic shelf.

As a result, the gas entered the atmosphere, and this contributed to a noticeable warming in the Arctic. The same mechanism works for Antarctica. The authors of the work note that the seismogenic-trigger hypothesis also explains why the polar regions of the Earth are heating up much faster than the main part of the planet.

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Text: Anzhelika Stepanova, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko and

February 01, 2023

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