DR KEN MACDONALD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KEN MACDONALD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mid-ocean ridge. Image of the floor of the Pacific Ocean, showing part of the East Pacific Rise. The colours show the depth of the ocean floor, from dark blue (deepest) through light blue, green, yellow and red to white (shallowest). The East Pacific Rise (red and yellow diagonal structure) is a fast-spreading constructive margin between two tectonic plates. As the plates move apart, fresh magma (molten rock) fills the gaps created. Small, localised faults or hot spots may lead to the creation of seamounts or underwater volcanoes, such as those seen in upper left (red peaks). This image was made from sonar and echo-sounding data.
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