Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Slippery stretching explains ocean floor formation

28.07.2006
For the first time, scientists have found regions of the earth’s crust which are stretching apart to form new sea floor; their findings are published in Nature.

Most new ocean floor is made when undersea volcanic activity splits the crust and molten rock fills the gaps. However some new ocean floor develops when rock stretches along gently inclined tectonic faults called detachment faults.

The new research suggests the significance of this stretching process as a way of creating new sea floor has been underestimated. No active examples of these detachment faults had been seen - until now.

Co-author Prof Joe Cann, from the University of Leeds said: “Detachment faults appear to break one of the most fundamental rules of geology. After all of the theorising about them, trying to explain how they might exist, it is immensely exciting to discover active faults emerging from the sea floor.”

Detachment faults are characterised by their curved surfaces, like corrugated iron roofs, and by swarms of tiny earthquakes. Because the distinctive shape of the faults as they emerge, it was possible to show that along 80 kilometres of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge all of the new crust along one side was being formed through a chain of linked detachment faults each at a different stage of evolution, which was highly unexpected. After a while, each fault becomes inactive, and is replaced by a newly-emerging fault.

Co-author Deborah Smith, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said: “In our area, detachment faulting is the most important way in which new ocean floor is constructed. The initial signs are that detachment faulting is far commoner along many hundreds of kilometres of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge than anyone had supposed before. These observations shed a new light on the evolution of the ocean floor.”

About 3 square kilometres of new ocean floor is created around the world every year. With sea floor comprising two thirds of the Earth’s crust, this new work is invaluable in helping us understand how the Earth’s surface is formed.

Widespread active detachment faulting and core complex formation near 13 degrees N on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge by Deborah Smith of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA, Johnson Cann of the University of Leeds, UK and Javier Escartin of Marine Geosciences Group, France, was published yesterday (27 July) in Nature.

Vanessa Bridge | alfa
Further information:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America

nachricht Ice stream draining Greenland Ice Sheet sensitive to changes over past 45,000 years
14.05.2018 | Oregon State University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>