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Scientists to study “hole” in the Atlantic Ocean’s floor

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Author Topic: Scientists to study “hole” in the Atlantic Ocean’s floor  (Read 1622 times)
Carolyn Silver
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« on: August 05, 2008, 03:29:51 am »

Scientists study baffling undersea spots where earth's crust is missing
The Associated PressPublished: March 6, 2007


SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Canary Islands: British scientists have embarked on a mission to study huge spots on the Atlantic seabed where the earth's crust is missing — an enigma that defies geophysical theory and provides an unprecedented peek at the planet's green interior.

The 12-member expedition left the Canary Islands Monday with a new high-tech vessel and a robotic device named Toby that will dig up rock samples at the site and film what it sees.

The main spot — there is at least one other in roughly the same area and a third is suspected — is about 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) under the surface of the Atlantic and located about 2,000 nautical miles southwest of the Spanish archipelago off Africa's coast.

It is part of a globe-spanning ridge of undersea volcanos, the kind of structure that forms when Atlantic tectonic plates separate and lava surges upward to fill the gap in the earth's crust.

But that did not happen this time. Where there should be a 7-kilometer- (4-mile-) thick layer of crust, there is instead that much mantle — the very dense, leafy-green rock that makes up the center of the Earth.
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