Caught Offside

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Science  04 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5552, pp. 55-57
DOI: 10.1126/science.1066318

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Submarine volcanism is believed to be concentrated narrowly along mid-ocean ridges, where oceanic plates separate. But is this the whole story, or is this volcanism supplemented by addition of magma to the plates away from the ridges? In his Perspective, Elliott discusses the report of Zou et al., who suggest that volcanism can occur as far as 20 kilometers from the ridge. Different types of lava point to two different mechanisms by which this unorthodox process may occur.