A new study was published in the journal Nature on January 27, where a team led by seismologist Matthew Agius of the University of Southampton in Britain proposes that the mid-ocean ridges – mountain formations that appear along the sea floor between the plates Tectonics – a major and important role in the process of transporting materials under the Earth’s crust between the upper mantle and the lower mantle.
Tectonic plate movement
The topography of the ocean floor is similar to the terrain we know on land in terms of valleys, hills, plains, and volcanoes as well. The ocean mountain range system is considered one of the most prominent of these terrain.
The mountains of the Atlantic Ocean, which extend along the ocean floor, are called the Atlantic Ridge, which is a divergent boundary between the tectonic plates on which the continents float.
According to a report published on the Science Alert website, Agios’ team was able to prove the role of these mountain chains in the movement of tectonic plates, whose borders are considered a major site for earthquakes and volcanoes.
In order to record seismic tremors beneath that mid-Atlantic mountain range, which separates the ridges of the tectonic plates of the Americas from the tectonic plates of the continents of Europe and Africa, the researchers published 39 seismometers.
The seismic readings recorded by the experiment monitored the flow of material in the transition mantle region, which plays a role in maintaining the balance of the Earth’s layers in terms of preventing the rapid transition between the upper mantle and the lower mantle, and this region is located at a depth ranging between 410 and 660 km.
The widening of the Atlantic at the expense of the Pacific
Thus, the team was able to monitor the process of transporting the material at depths of 660 km below the surface. The results showed that this transfer process between the two mantle layers is not limited to shallow depths in the mid-Atlantic mountain range, but can appear in the deepest transitional mantle regions as well, indicating that materials are already rising from the lower mantle to the top.
Scientists estimate that the Atlantic Ocean is expanding by several centimeters per year in conjunction with the contraction of the Pacific Ocean. Researchers have attributed this slow shift in the oceans to the constant movement of Earth’s tectonic plates. Where the plates below the Americas separate from those under Europe and Africa. Science has not yet been able to determine the deep geophysical forces upon which this epic phenomenon is based.
The Agios team hopes to have provided a good assessment of one of the important factors that play an important role in the movement of tectonic plates, refuting previous assumptions based on the marginalization of the role of ocean mountains in the movement of tectonic plates.
Source : Australian Press + American Press