DR KEN MACDONALD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KEN MACDONALD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour, three-dimensional map of part of the East Pacific Rise, showing the Clipperton transform fault. The East Pacific Rise (EPR) is a mid ocean ridge lying to the west of Central America. It marks the boundary between the Pacific and Cocos tectonic plates and is a constructive plate boundary or spreading centre where basalt magmas rise to the surface, forming new igneous rock and pushing the older crust away on either side. The Clipperton transform fault offsets the EPR by 85km, separating two ridge segments with contrasting properties; the northern segment is relatively cool & starved of magma, whereas the southern segment is robust & swollen with magma. For more information see Nature, Vol 335, p217-.
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