A strong 5.0 earthquake rocked the northern ridge of the mid-Atlantic this evening; fortunately, it was not strong enough to create a tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean.
According to the USGS, the earthquake struck at 9:01 pm ET tonight to a depth of 10 km; the earthquake was centered on a seismically active part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near 28.208 Â° N 43.882 Â° W.
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.