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Ocean crust formation not such a passive business 27 November 2009

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New research indicates that the formation of ocean crust is not always a passive business, but has an important dynamic component. The study is based on analysis of seismic wave velocities in the uppermost 200 km of the mantle beneath the Gulf of California:

The seismic waves in three localized centers, spaced about 250 kilometers (155 miles) apart, traveled more slowly than waves in the surrounding mantle, implying the presence of more melt in the localized centers and thus a more vigorous upwelling. From that, the geologists determined the centers, located 40-90 kilometers (25 to 56 miles) below the surface, showed evidence of dynamic upwelling in the mantle. [from the Brown University press release]

This research is published in a letter to the current issue of Nature (home of the snappy science headline – ‘Developmental Biology: Down the tube’, ‘Meteorology: Can’t beat the heat’, etc.), available in full to subscribers.

  • Yun Wang, Donald W. Forsyth & Brian Savage, ‘Convective upwelling in the mantle beneath the Gulf of California’, Nature, vol. 462 no. 7272 (26 Nov 2009), pp. 499-501 [doi:10.1038/nature08552]. Click here for summary.

Oceanic crust formation is dynamic after all – Brown University press release, 23 November 2009

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