Last year's Mexico earthquake smashes tectonic plate in half

Central Mexico Earthquake
Soldiers and rescue workers are seen during a search for students, September 21, 2017. Reuters

The 8.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the southern Pacific of Mexico on September 7, 2017, not only caused widespread human casualties but also cracked the Cocos tectonic plate in half, a new study revealed.

A joint study conducted by researchers at the University of Oregon and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) made this shocking discovery after analyzing data from the quake. The report published in the Journal of Nature Geoscience also revealed that the gigantic tremor which shook the planet would have taken only ten seconds to occur.

As per the researchers, a previous example of tectonic plate splitting happened in Iran in 2013 when an earthquake that measured 7.3 in the Richter scale hit the country.

Professor Diego Melgar of the University of Oregon, the lead author of the study shared his concerns and revealed that no one knows why or how these frightening splits occur. The research team believes that the chances of Cocos plate to get split are very narrow, as the temperature is very high here, and under these conditions, these plates should actually bend like plastic.

However, during the times of Iran and Mexico earthquakes, the tectonic plates have broken like a huge block of glass.

"Everything indicates that it has been broken along its entire width. If you think of it as a huge slab of glass, this rupture made a big, gaping crack. All indications are that it has broken through the entire width of the thing," Melgar told the National Geographic.

Melgar also added that the lifting of these plates could result in gigantic tsunamis in coastal areas causing massive devastation.

In the meantime, Frank Hoogerbeets, a self-proclaimed earthquake researcher who runs the website 'Ditrianum: Global Earthquake Forecast' has predicted that a mega-quake will hit the planet over the upcoming Christmas period. Hoogerbeets argue that the earthquake will be the result of a planetary alignment which will happen on December 21, 2018.

This article was first published on October 27, 2018