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Mid-ocean ridge

Basaltic underwater mountain system formed by plate tectonic spreading / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A mid-ocean ridge (MOR) is a seafloor mountain system formed by plate tectonics. It typically has a depth of about 2,600 meters (8,500 ft) and rises about 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) above the deepest portion of an ocean basin. This feature is where seafloor spreading takes place along a divergent plate boundary. The rate of seafloor spreading determines the morphology of the crest of the mid-ocean ridge and its width in an ocean basin.

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Mid-ocean ridge cross-section (cut-away view)

The production of new seafloor and oceanic lithosphere results from mantle upwelling in response to plate separation. The melt rises as magma at the linear weakness between the separating plates, and emerges as lava, creating new oceanic crust and lithosphere upon cooling.

The first discovered mid-ocean ridge was the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is a spreading center that bisects the North and South Atlantic basins; hence the origin of the name 'mid-ocean ridge'. Most oceanic spreading centers are not in the middle of their hosting ocean basis but regardless, are traditionally called mid-ocean ridges. Mid-ocean ridges around the globe are linked by plate tectonic boundaries and the trace of the ridges across the ocean floor appears similar to the seam of a baseball. The mid-ocean ridge system thus is the longest mountain range on Earth, reaching about 65,000 km (40,000 mi).

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