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Mid-ocean Ridges


ROV Jason captures underwater video during earthquake

In January and February 2020, scientists on R/V Atlantis explored hydrothermal vents on the Cayman Rise. They used the remotely operated vehicle Jason to get an up-close view of the vents and life around them. The vents lie on a seismically active part of the seafloor known as a mid-ocean ridge. Deep-sea shrimp swarm the vents, feeding on microbes that live on chemicals flowing from the vents. While they were there, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck just 100 miles away. Scientists will now be able to study how seismic activity affects hydrothermal vents and the life around them.

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How Is the Seafloor Made?

How Is the Seafloor Made?

An ultrasound for the Earth? Using sound waves, a graduate student peers into the crystalline texture of the tectonic plates that cover our planet’s surface.

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Pop Goes the Seafloor Rock

Pop Goes the Seafloor Rock

WHOI scientists used the human-occupied submersible Alvin and the autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry to explore a surprising discovery: gas-filled volcanic rocks on the seafloor that “pop” when brought up to the surface.

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Deep-sea Detectives

Deep-sea Detectives

Links to related materials Mid-Ocean Ridges—Articles, illustrations, and video showing how new seafloor crust forms Mapping the Seafloor with Multibeam…

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Deep-sea Detectives

Deep-sea Detectives

  Links to related materials Mid-Ocean Ridges—Articles, illustrations, and video showing how new seafloor crust forms Mapping the Seafloor with…

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Garrett Mitchell

Garrett Mitchell

For Garrett Mitchell, an interest in oceanography arose not in a university classroom but on a surfboard in the waters…

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Rescue Mission on the Seafloor

Rescue Mission on the Seafloor

The two earthquake-monitoring instruments—each the size and weight of a small refrigerator—were glued to the ocean bottom by erupting lava…

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A Ridge Too Slow?

A Ridge Too Slow?

Ever since scientists first discovered vents gushing hot, mineral-rich fluids from the seafloor in the Pacific Ocean 30 years ago,…

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Scientists “See” New Ocean Floor Just Before and After It Is Created

A multidisciplinary research team from six institutions has for the first time successfully anticipated and then chronicled a seafloor eruption along the global mid-ocean ridge, the most active volcanic system on Earth. The event along the East Pacific Rise has provided researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) with a rare opportunity to observe what happens in the immediate aftermath of an eruption.

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