GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Paleomagnetism in sea floor spreading. Artwork showing the changes in magnetism in sea floor volcanic rocks over time. New sea floor (top) is formed at a mid-ocean ridge by upwelling lava (red arrow). Over millions of years the new rock fills the gap left as the continents drift apart (yellow arrows), and also helps drive the process. The evidence for this process was found by looking at the magnetism of the rocks. As volcanic rocks solidify, they retain the magnetism present at the time. The Earth's magnetic field reverses periodically, and this is shown by changes in the magnetism of these rocks (alternating red and green strips, bottom).
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