Mid-Ocean Ridges: Types
Mid-Ocean Ridges Have Different
Types of Topography and Shapes
Mid-ocean ridges have different shapes, also
depending on how fast they are spreading, how active they are magmatically
and volcanically, and how much tectonic stretching and faulting
is taking place. Why does the mid-ocean ridge crest have such variable
is an important question that marine geologists and geophysicists
are studying. Part of the research we are doing is
to answer this question. Scientists believe that it is most likely
related to the strength of the ocean crust at these different sites
and how cold and brittle the upper part of the plate is.
Faster spreading ridges like the northern and
southern East Pacific Rise are “hotter,” meaning
more magma is present beneath the ridge axis and more volcanic
eruptions occur. Because the plate under the ridge crest is hotter
scientists think that the plate responds to the divergent spreading
process more fluidly. In simple terms, this means that the ridge
spreads more like hot taffy being pulled apart.
At slower spreading ridges, like the northern Mid-Atlantic
Ridge, the seafloor behaves like nougat or cold chocolate bars -- when
it gets pulled enough it cracks and breaks. The ocean crust at
slow spreading ridges breaks into ridges and valleys as the seafloor
gets pulled apart.