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Images: A Rare Glimpse Into the Ocean's Crust

WHOI graduate student Clare M. Williams examines a rock sample. Her proposal to analyze magnetic properties of seafloor rocks collected from the Kane Megamullion won the Geological Society of America's Geophysics Division Student Award in October, 2006. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge snakes down the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, interrupted by a large crosswise fault called the Kane Transform Fault. (Image by Clare M. Williams, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

A bathymetric image shows the Kane Fracture Zone and the uplifted, rotated rock mass called the Kane Megamullion. Here the hidden lower crust and upper mantle are exposed, and WHOI/MIT graduate student Clare Williams studies the rocks? magnetic signals of this unique place to decipher how Earth?s crust is built up from overlapping lava flows. (Courtesy of Brian Tucholke, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

A magnetic map of the Kane Megamullion area of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge showing the strength of the magnetic signals in colors, where purple indicates the strongest deviation from a reference level. Bathymetric contours are outlined in gray and black dashed lines show where the rocks? magnetic polarity reverses direction, reflecting Earth's magnetic field when the rocks formed. (Image by Clare M. Williams, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Clare Williams uses a rock saw on rocks from the Earth's upper mantle and lower crust, collected on the bottom of the ocean, so she can investigate their magnetic properties. (Photo by Mike Cheadle, University of Wyoming, courtesy of Clare M. Williams, WHOI)