“An upsurge of hot rock from deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean may be driving the continents on either side apart,” writes Maria Temming in Science News.
Not surprisingly in today’s politically correct world, Temming’s article does not mention ocean warming. Instead, the title of the piece enthuses that “An upwelling of rock beneath the Atlantic may drive continents apart.” Notice that the title does not mention the hot rock.
Same with the subtitle: “The Mid-Atlantic Ridge may play a more active role in plate tectonics than thought.” No mention of hot rocks there, either.
But I think the hot rocks are the most important takeaway from her article.
The image of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge included with Temming’s article (above) might make it difficult for you to delineate just exactly where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is located. But as luck would have it, I found a different image (below) showing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Mid-Pacific Rise, and other oceanic ridges. I think the vast amount of red emanating from those ridges makes it perfectly clear where the heat is coming from.
Anyway, back to Temming’s article.
New seismic data from the Atlantic Ocean floor show that hot rock is welling up beneath the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from more than 600 kilometers deep in Earth’s mantle, says Temming. (She loves calling it ‘hot rock,’ but in reality it’s red-hot fiery basalt, the ocean’s version of red-hot lava.)
Matthew Agius, a seismologist at Roma Tre University in Rome, and his colleagues used 39 seismometers on the seafloor along the ridge between South America and Africa to monitor earthquakes around the world for about a year. The tremors contained clues about the location and movement of material far below the seafloor.
In those signals, Agius’ team saw hints of material from Earth’s lower mantle welling up toward the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. “This was completely unexpected,” Agius says, and it could be a powerful force for pushing apart the tectonic plates on either side of the rift.” (I don’t understand why it would be “unexpected.”)
So what to make of this?
I certainly agree that the deep-mantle material surging up at the centers of these rifts must play a major role in seafloor spreading.
But I also maintain, as I have been saying for years, that those hot rocks are heating the world’s oceans. And not just a little bit of heat, mind you, but far more than you might believe. If those ‘hot rocks’ are like other such fiery basalt, their temperatures could easily measure up to 2,150°F (1,177°C) hot.
More than ten times the boiling point!
Scientists agree that there are more than three million – yes, more than three million! – underwater volcanoes … and we’re trying to blame humans for heating our seas?
Thanks to Viv Forbes for this link
“What incredible news,” says Viv. “Whoever would have thought?”
For more about underwater volcanoes heating the world’s oceans, see Not by Fire but by Ice, Chapter 10, “Fish Stew.”