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CHAPTER 4: Sea Floor Spreading

and Transform Faults

and submersible operations – Geophysical surveys • Measuring variations in strength of Earth’s Magnetic field (with the aid of magnetometers) Anomaly – a deviation from an average value of magnetic or gravity field intensity. drilling.SEA FLOOR SPREADING Introduction • Continental Drift Theory in the late 1950s • Data gathering and observations of seafloor: – Direct observations • Dredging. Ultramafic and Mafic Rocks – contains high proportions of magnetite Metamorphic Rocks – moderately magnetic Acid Igneous and Sedimentary Rocks – weakly magnetic .

SEA FLOOR SPREADING Marine Magnetic Anomalies • Magnetic surveying as a method used in oceanographic investigations. • Magnetic Field revealed a pattern of stripes defined by steep gradients separating linear regions of high amplitude positive and negative anomalies • Magnetic Lineation – present virtually in all oceanic areas – 10 -20 k wide and characterized peak-to-peak amplitude of 500-1000 nT – Parallel to crests of the Mid-oceanic ridge system – Symmetrical about the ridge axis .

SEA FLOOR SPREADING Marine Magnetic Anomalies NOT a Oceanic layer 1 source of Oceanic layer 3 linear magnetic anomalies Oceanic layer 2 – the source of the anomalies Shape of the Magnetic Anomaly is determined by: • Geometric form of source • Orientation of magnetic vector .

so that the magnetic north pole becomes the south pole and vice versa. • The rates at which geomagnetic reversals have occurred in the geologic past is highly variable. • A Magnetostatic origin appears impossible for the origin of the earth’s magnetic field. the magnetic north and south poles reverse positions. Earth’s magnetic field has completely reversed. SEA FLOOR SPREADING Geomagnetic Reversals • At various times in the geologic past. • The geomagnetic field is believed to originate by Magnetohydrodynamic processes within the fluid (outer) part of the Earth’s core. that is. .

SEA FLOOR SPREADING Geomagnetic Reversals • The timescale is characteristic of convection in the mantle. .

• If lithosphere is continuously being produced and the ocean grows gradually. . then does it mean that Earth’s Surface Area is increasing? • The driving mechanism of these movements was believed to be convection currents in the sub-lithospheric mantle. Sea Floor Spreading – new oceanic lithosphere is created by the upwelling and partial melting of material from the asthenosphere at the ocean ridges. continents marginal to the ocean are moved apart. – as the ocean grows wider.SEA FLOOR SPREADING Sea floor Spreading • Harry Hess and Robert Dietz had proposed that continental drift might be accomplished by sea floor spreading.

Keith A. – 3rd ed. / Philip Kearey. REFERENCE/S • Global tectonics. Frederick J. Vine . Klepeis.