Magnetic Anomalies over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near 27°N

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Science  25 Aug 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3791, pp. 920-923
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3791.920


Ten magnetic profiles across the mid-Atlantic ridge near 27°N show trends that are parallel to the ridge axis and symmetrical about the ridge axis. The configuration of magnetic bodies that could account for the pattern supports the Vine and Matthews hypothesis for the origin of magnetic anomalies over oceanic ridges. A polarity-reversal time scale inferred from models for sea-floor spreading in the Pacific-Antarctic ridge and radiometrically dated reversals of the geomagnetic field indicates a spreading rate of 1.25 centimeters per year during the last 6 million years and a rate of 1.65 centimeters per year between 6 and 10 million years ago. A similar analysis of more limited data over the mid-Atlantic ridge near 22°N also indicates a change in the spreading rate. Here a rate of 1.4 centimeters per year appears to have been in effect during the last 5 million years; between 5 and 9 million years ago, an increased rate of 1.7 centimeters per year is indicated. The time of occurrence and relative magnitude of these changes in the spreading rate, about 5 to 6 million years ago and 18 to 27 percent, respectively, accords with the spreading rate change implied for the Juan de Fuca ridge in the northeast Pacific.