Viewing the morphology of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from a new perspective



The nature of the volcanic and tectonic response of mid-ocean ridges to magmatic and rifting processes is a key component in understanding how new ocean crust is created. New high-resolution side-scan sonar images of the axis of the slow-spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) show volcanic constructs and faults and fissures that are similar in size and shape to those observed at well-studied subaerial rift zones such as Hawaii and Iceland. The new information provided by these high resolution side-scan sonar images, combined with swath bathymetric coverage, is now allowing us to apply the terrestrial analogs to the MAR to understand dike emplacement, shallow transport of magma, eruption mechanisms, tectonic strain, and crustal evolution.