Sea Floor Spreading, Topography, and the Second Layer

Science  25 Aug 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3791, pp. 923-924
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3791.923


Local sea floor topography and also the thickness of the second layer of the oceanic rise-ridge system appear related to the spreading rate in the region. Slow spreading, away from the ridge center at 1 to 2 centimeters per year, is associated with a thick second layer, a central rift, and adjacent rift mountains. Fast spreading, 3 to 4.5 centimeters per year, is associated with a thin second layer and subdued topography lacking any central rift. The volume of lava discharged in this layer per unit time and per unit length along the crest of the whole active system is relatively constant regardless of the spreading rate. Total second layer discharge of the system has been about 5 to 6 cubic kilometers per year during the last several million years.