Mid-ocean ridges

  • Marjorie Wilson


A map of the ocean basins (Fig. 5.1) shows that their most conspicuous topographic feature is the system of mid-oceanic ridges, the crests of which rise on average 1000–3000 m above the adjacent ocean floor. Such ridges extend through all the major ocean basins, with a total length in excess of 60 000 km. With the exception of the East Pacific Rise, they occur in the middle part of the oceans and essentially form a submarine mountain range, which rises to its highest elevation at the ridge crest and slopes away symmetrically on either flank. Topographically, they vary throughout their length, the East Pacific Rise being much broader and less rugged than the other ridges (Section 5.4). A rare terrestrial expression of the mid-oceanic ridge system occurs in Iceland, whose central graben is the extension of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.


Partial Melting Oceanic Crust Magma Chamber Ocean Floor Ridge Axis 
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Further reading

  1. Basaltic Volcanism Study Project 1981. Basalticvolcanism on the terrestrial planets. New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  2. Gass, I.G., S.J. Lippard & A.W. Shelton (eds) 1984. Ophiolites and oceanic lithosphere. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific.Google Scholar
  3. Hekinian, R. 1982. Petrology of the ocean floor. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  4. Kennet, J.P. 1982. Marine geology. Englewood Cliffs, N. J: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  5. Le Roex, A.P. 1987. Source regions of mid-ocean ridge basalts: evidence for enrichment processes. In Mantle metasomatism, M.A. Menzies & C.J. Hawkesworth (eds). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Wilkinson, J.F.G. 1982. The genesis of mid-ocean ridge basalt. Earth Sci. Rev. 18, 1–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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