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New crust formation process

A New Way to Make Crust

Scientists have long thought that new ocean crust was only formed at spreading centers, where tectonic plates separate and allow magma to emerge from below. WHOI geophysicist Dan Lizarralde recently discovered locations in the Guaymas Basin beneath the Sea of Cortez where magma intrudes up into layers of sediment many kilometers from the nearest spreading center. Lizarralde and colleagues used seismic imaging (background) and a new device made by engineer Marshall Swartz to examine the seafloor and below in order to identify the new process of crust formation. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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