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Scientists explain why the surface of the Atlantic Ocean increases

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

The oceans aren’t as the same as you might think. Scientists estimate that the Atlantic Ocean expands several centimeters each year. At the same time, the Pacific is shrinking. Scientists explained what’s behind these processes.

This slow displacement of the oceans is due to the continuous movement of Earth’s tectonic plates, as the plates below America move away from Europe and Africa.

Researchers from the United Kingdom identified a factor that contributes to the movement of tectonic plates. They suggest that mid-ocean ridges – the mountainous formations that emerge along the seafloor between tectonic plates – may be more involved in the transfer of material between the upper and lower mantles under the Earth’s crust than we thought.

Scientists deployed 39 seismometers along the Atlantic floor to record seismic movements under the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the ridge boundary that tectonically separates the Americas from Europe and Africa.

Seismic readings recorded in the experiment controlled the flow of material in the transition zone of the mantle between the upper mantle and the lower mantle. The team managed to obtain images of the transfer of material at depths of up to 660 kilometers below the surface.

The results suggest that outcrops of chemical material are not limited to the depths of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, but may arise in the deepest reaches of the mantle transition zone. In this way the material of the lower mantle rises towards the surface.

“The observations imply a transfer of material from the lower to the upper mantle – either continuous or punctual – that is linked to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge,” the researchers explain.

The data also shows that the processes occur deeper into the Earth than had been measured so far, the specialists say, detailing that it can continue to occur even in areas of the seabed not marked by manifest regions of plate subduction.

“Given the length and longevity of the mid-oceanic ridge system, this implies that the convection of the entire mantle may be more frequent than previously thought,” they indicate in the study. 

“It suggests that in places like the Mid-Atlantic, the forces in the ridge play an important role in the separation of the newly formed plates,” they concluded.

The study was published in the journal Nature.

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