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Mid-ocean Ridges


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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Paving the Seafloor—Brick by Brick

Paving the Seafloor—Brick by Brick

Most of Earth’s crust is manufactured at the bottom of the sea. Deep beneath the waves and beyond our view, magma erupts along a 40,000-mile volcanic mountain chain that bisects the ocean floors and encircles the globe. The lava flowing from these mid-ocean ridges solidifies into new ocean crust that spreads out and paves the surface of our planet.

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Hitting the Hotspots

Hitting the Hotspots

The great volcanic mid-ocean ridge system stretches continuously around the globe for 60,000 kilometers, nearly all of it hidden beneath the world’s oceans.

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Life on the Seafloor and Elsewhere in the Solar System

Life on the Seafloor and Elsewhere in the Solar System

The RIDGE program (Ridge Inter-Disciplinary Globe Experiments) was sharply focused on the global spreading center system, but the program’s goals were broadly defined. RIDGE was designed to explore the causes, consequences, and linkages associated with the physical, chemical, and biological processes that transfer mass and energy from the interior to the surface of the planet along the mid-ocean ridges.

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The Cauldron Beneath the Seafloor

The Cauldron Beneath the Seafloor

Just over 20 years ago, scientists exploring the mid-ocean ridge system first made the spectacular discovery of black smokers—hydrothermal chimneys made of metal sulfide minerals that vigorously discharge hot, dark, particulate-laden fluids into the ocean.

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The Big MELT

The Big MELT

More than 95 percent of the earth’s volcanic magma is generated beneath the seafloor at mid-ocean ridges.

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