THE IMPORTANCE OF MAGNETIC ANOMALIES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SEA FLOOR SPREADING THEORY

Abstract:
Magnetic anomalies were crucial in the development of sea floor spreading theory from continental drift. In the 1950s, land-based magnetic reversal timescales were produced from thermal remanent magnetism in basic lava flows. Within a decade, survey ships reported distinct patterns of magnetic anomalies on the ocean floor; these were used to formulate the early sea floor spreading theory in 1961. Sea floor spreading states that alternating normal and reverse epochs in the Earth’s magnetic field produce linear anomalies as new ocean crust cools and solidifies from melt at spreading centers. This theory has continued to develop, now using magnetic anomalies as a marker for the initiation of ridge systems from rifts.
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