Sea-Floor Depth and the Lake Wobegon Effect

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Science  14 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5306, pp. 1613
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5306.1613

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The ways in which actual measurements of sea-floor depth differ from average depths predicted by models of the solid Earth may provide useful information about how the planetary heat engine works. Actual depth is a function of plate tectonics and planetary heat flow. As S. Stein and C. Stein discuss in their Perspective, there is renewed interest in understanding these depth anomalies that is leading to improved models and extensive data sets.