Mapping the Ocean Floor Pre-WWI Pre-WWI –Ropes were lowered from boats to measure depth. 1940s/1950s 1940s/1950s –Developed use of sound waves to map depth of the ocean floor. Found that the ocean floor actually had a series of ridges and valleys (mid-ocean ridges). Found that the ocean floor actually had a series of ridges and valleys (mid-ocean ridges).
Seafloor Spreading Developed by Harry Hess in the 1960s. Developed by Harry Hess in the 1960s. Proposed that: Proposed that: –Hot, less dense material beneath the ocean floor rises toward the surface at mid ocean ridges –As the material approaches the surface it moves sideways, pulling the ocean floor apart at the center of the mid ocean ridge –Magma erupts from the resulting cracks and cools to form new ocean crust –Through time the new ocean crust moves away from the center of the mid-ocean ridge becoming cooler (and thus more dense) and sinks
Support for Seafloor Spreading 1968 – Glomar Challenger 1968 – Glomar Challenger –Research vessel that drilled into the ocean floor to obtain rock samples. –Discovered that the youngest ocean crust was closest to the center of the mid-ocean ridge.
Support for Seafloor Spreading Magnetic Reversals Magnetic Reversals –At the time that rocks with iron-bearing minerals form, the direction of Earths magnetic field is recorded in the orientation of the minerals. –Scientists have found that many reversals have occurred in the magnetic field and are recorded in strips of the ocean floor that run parallel to each other.