Earthquakes are some of the most destructive phenomena that can take place, as many have been able to crumble villages and cities in the past. In most cases, they only happen once and might be followed by replicas with a lower-intensity, but there are rare exceptions.
A new study conducted by a team of researchers has revealed the surprising existence of a boomerang-type earthquake which took place under the deep seabed of the Atlantic Ocean in 2016, marking a major milestone for geology
Classified as a bag-propagating supershear rupture, the earthquake took place along an area known as the Romance fracture zone, which is located close to the Equator and nearly between the western coast of Africa and the eastern Brazilian one. The sprawling fault generated an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 in August 2016, which was spotted by deep-sea seismometers.
When the signals were analyzed, researchers realized that they weren’t looking at a regular quake as what they saw was a temblor, which followed a direction and then turned back at a faster pace than the first time.
Previous research has inferred that reversing rupture mechanisms are viable according to data provided by theoretical models, but the new study provides practical evidence related to the occurrence of the phenomenon in a real-life environment, according to a press release provided by one of the researchers who contributed to the study.
The fascinating earthquake can be divided into two key phases. During the initial phase, the rupture traveled up and towards the east, to what is known to be a weak spot. However, a sudden back-propagation took place towards the west, as the tremors raced towards the center of the fault at an accelerated pace.
More research will take place in the future, and the study has been published in a scientific journal.