B. MURTON / SOUTHAMPTON OCEANOGRAPHY CENTRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY B. MURTON / SOUTHAMPTON OCEANOGRAPHY CENTRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Oceanographer deploying instruments from the deck of a research vessel to a submersible in the sea. This is being done during a study of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This is a divergent boundary zone, where new seafloor is formed from the upwelling of magma (molten rock) from within the Earth. The ridge marks the edges of the North American and Eurasian continental plates in the north, and the South American and African plates in the south. It is still very active, its growth causing the continents to move several centimetres further apart each year. In some places the ridge has broken the surface, forming islands such as Iceland and the Azores.
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