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elbanditoroso's avatar

Geologically speaking, is there a risk that the Bosporus Strait and the Dardanelles Strait can close?

Asked by elbanditoroso (32902points) May 5th, 2012

I don’t mean next week or next year.

It seems like the Black Sea (and by extension, the country of Georgia and several others) are heavily dependent on the Bosporus and the Dardanelles remaining open and navigable. But those of those straits are comparatively narrow.

Geologically, are the continents moving apart or together there? Is there a risk that at some point 50 million years from now that they will close? Since the Black Sea is a net outflow lake, would that then cause flooding in southern Russia?

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tom_g's avatar

I’m talking without knowledge here, so I apologize in advance. Ideally, we have a plate tectonic expert here?
We’d need to know a few things. Like you mentioned, you’d want to know if there are plates that are close enough to the geographic area(s) you mentioned. Then you’d want to know the direction of the plate movement as well as speed. If the straight happened to fall on between the plates and there was subduction occurring, I suppose it’s possible the straight could close. But a quick look at the plate map and it doesn’t appear to be a problem. The Eurasion and Arabian plates appear to be moving away from each other.

Another thing you’d probably want to look into would be expected sea-level projections for 50 million years from now.

lillycoyote's avatar

This is as close as I could get to an answer with just a quick look. This brief article states that The continents are still moving at a few centimetres every year. The Atlantic continues to widen while the Pacific is slowly shrinking. The Mediterranean will eventually close up…. It’s pretty vague, but whatever continental shifting capable of “closing up” the Mediterranean, whatever that means, might end up “closing up” the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits.

@elbanditoroso “Non-responsive?” Are you an attorney? :-)

elbanditoroso's avatar

@lillycoyote – not an attorney in real life, but I play one on TV

The article is interesting, and does suggest that there is some risk that the Bosporus will close. I’m going to dig further…...

WestRiverrat's avatar

It looks like it has opened and closed periodically before, I don’t see why it can’t do the same in the future. Black Sea

lillycoyote's avatar

This Wikipedia entry on the 1999 İzmit earthquake in Turkey states:

The Anatolian Plate, which consists primarily of Turkey, is being pushed west about 2–2.5 cm (0.8–1.0 in) a year, as it is squeezed between the Eurasian Plate on the north, and both the African Plate and the Arabian Plate on the south.

It seems Turkey being moved westward, though they don’t give and exact trajectory, would do the trick, as far as closing the straits. Even if Turkey is only traveling about an inch a year, it will still eventually get where it’s going; slowly but surely. :-)

I don’t know exactly how wide the straights are, but if that westward motion continues at that pace you could calculate how long it might take before the straights would close up permanently.

LOL. Now you’ve got me interested in this too. :-)

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