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Aug 29 / Dave Schumaker

Ocean Floor Formation

New images produced of the ocean crust (using seismic profiles), shows that the upper crust and lower crust are formed by two different sources of magma. Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, analyzed data from the Juan de Fuca ridge, which sits offshore of Oregon and Washington. The images are the first of their kind showing solidified magma lenses and sills, narrow lateral intrusions of magma, embedded in the boundary between the mantle and the overlying crust, a region known as the Moho transition zone. The existence of these magma lenses near a mid-ocean ridge suggests that the lower oceanic crust is formed from several smaller sources of magma rather than a single large pool located in the middle of the crust. The study appears in the current issue of Nature.

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