Sea-Floor Spreading Notes - Jenny

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  • 1. Mapping the Mid-Ocean Ridge• The mid-ocean ridge is thelongest chain of mountains in theworld.• In the 1950s scientist mappedthe mid-ocean ridge using sonar.•Sonar is an instrument that usessound waves to measuredistance.• It bounces sound waves offunderwater objects and recordsthe echoes of these sounds.
  • 2. •The time that it takes the echoindicates the distance to theobject.• The scientists found out thatthe ocean floor was not flat.•This discovery peaked theircuriosity to discover what theridge was and how it got there.
  • 3. There are huge mountain rangescalled ridges.Ex: Mid-Atlantic Ridge
  • 4. The Global Mid-Oceanic Ridge System
  • 5. Evidence for Sea-Floor Spreading• In 1960, Harry Hess studied Wegener’s theory.• Hess proposed the radical idea that the ocean floorsmove like a conveyer belt, which in turn move thecontinents.
  • 6. Evidence for Sea-Floor Spreading•This movement begins at the mid-ocean ridge,which forms along in a crack in the oceanic crust.• At the mid-ocean ridge, molten materials rise fromthe mantle and erupts.•The molten material spreads out, pushing olderrock to both sides of the ridge.
  • 7. • Hess called this processSea-Floor Spreading.• Molten material, magneticstripes, and drilling samplessupported Hess’s theory.
  • 8. Evidence from Molten Material • In the 1960s, scientist used a small submarine called Alvin to explore the ocean floor. • Alvin’s crew found rocks shaped like pillows or toothpaste squeezed from a tube.• These rocks showed that molten materialhad erupted many different times from cracksalong the mid-ocean ridge.
  • 9. Evidence from Magnetic Stripes• The Earth is like a giant magnet witha north and south pole.• The Earth’s magnetic poles reversedthemselves 780,000 years ago.•Rocks on the ocean floor are in apattern of magnetized stripes.•These stripes show when the Earthreversed its magnetic field.
  • 10. Reversals happen on average onlyabout once every 250,000 years, and they take hundreds if not thousands of years to complete. The magnetic field does not vanish during this time.
  • 11. More Evidence from Magnetic Stripes• Molten material contains iron.•As it cooled, the iron bits lined upin the direction of Earth’s magneticpoles.•When the rock hardened, the ironwas locked in place, giving therocks a permanent “magneticmemory”.
  • 12. More Evidence from Magnetic Stripes•Scientist recorded this “magneticmemory” on both sides of the mid-ocean ridge.• They found a stripe of when themagnetic field pointed north and aparallel stripe that pointed south.•Rock that hardens at the same timewould have the same magneticmemory.
  • 13. Evidence from Drilling SamplesThe Glomar Challenger is adrilling ship that recovereddrilling samples from theocean floor.• They studied the age of therocks sampled.• They found that the farther fromthe ridge, the older the rock.• The youngest rocks were at thecenter of the ridge.
  • 14. Subduction at Deep-Ocean Trenches• The ocean floor plunges into deepunderwater canyons called deep-oceantrenches.• Subduction takes place where there aredeep-ocean trenches.• New oceanic crust is hot.• It moves away from the mid-ocean ridgeand cools, making it more dense.
  • 15. • Gravity pulls the denser, oldercrust down beneath the trench.• Subduction allowsthe ocean floor tosink back into themantle that takestens of millionsof years torecycle.
  • 16. Subduction and Earth’s Ocean’s•Subduction and sea-floorspreading change the sizeand shape of the oceans.• The ocean floor is renewedevery 200 million years.
  • 17. Subduction in the Pacific Ocean• The Pacific Ocean covers 1/3 of the planet,but it is shrinking.• There is a ring of trenches that surrounds thePacific Ocean.• This occurs because a deep ocean trenchswallows more oceanic crust than the mid-ocean ridge can produce.• If new crust is not added fast enough, thewidth of the ocean shrinks.
  • 18. Subduction in the Atlantic Ocean• The Atlantic Ocean is expanding.• The Atlantic Ocean has only a fewtrenches.• The Atlantic Ocean floor is attached to thecontinental crust of the continents.• As the sea-floor spreads, the continentsalong that edge also move.