A strong 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Mid-Atlantic Ridge today; fortunately, the earthquake did not generate an Atlantic-wide tsunami and there is no threat of a tsunami on the east coast of the United States. The USGS and the National Weather Service Tsunami Warning Center released updates on the powerful quake today.
According to the USGS, the powerful earthquake struck at a depth of 10 km or 6.2 miles at 5:42 a.m. ET today. The earthquake occurred in a seismically active area of the central Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which separates the South American Plate from the African Plate. In this part of the world, the two plates move 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, based on the concept of continental drift, a scientific concept developed in the early 20th century. Continental drift is the gradual movement of continents across the Earth’s surface through geologic 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 reach 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 jet planes over deep water, only slowing when they reach shallow water. While tsunamis are often called tidal waves, this name is discouraged by oceanographers because tides have little to do with these giant waves.
Nevertheless, due to the intensity of today’s earthquake, the National Weather Service Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska has issued a bulletin on the seismic event. “There is no tsunami danger for the US East Coast, Gulf States or Canada’s East Coast,” they wrote in a bulletin to those areas. “Based on the location of the earthquake near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a destructive tsunami is not expected.