Name: Michael De Armon
Age: 6th Grade
I need information about sea floor spreading and how
it was discovered and how it works.
I don't know the full story, but here's an introduction.
Seafloor spreading is closely related to the theory
of Plate Tectonics. According to this theory, the
outer layer of the Earth is broken up into numerous
plates. These plates are not stuck in place. They
move with respect to one another. Sometimes the
plates pull apart from one another. These locations
are usually under the ocean floor at seafloor
spreading centers. When the plates pull apart, magma
comes up from the interior of the Earth and cools
to form new rock on the ocean bottom. This process
causes new ocean floor to be formed.
Sea floor spreading was discovered in the 1960s by
scientists who found that the age of the
seafloor increases away from the spreading centers.
That is, the seafloor near the spreading centers
is relatively young and far away from the spreading
centers the seafloor rocks are very old. (The
age of the rock is dated from the time the rock
cooled from a lava to become solid.) Some ocean
floor rocks are well over 100 million years old.
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Update: June 2012