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Trenches and Ridges


Mid-Atlantic Ridge Animation


On the right is a false-color image of the Peru-Chile Trench. The trench is created by the Pacific Plate being pushed under the South American Plate. A process called subduction. Oceanic trenches are the deepest parts of the ocean.  The term trench describes the area where oceanic plates are pushed deep down under continental plates. As an oceanic plate is pushed down it can reach several kilometers below the normal seafloor. Average depths are between 2 -5km down though some can be much deeper. The Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench is over 10km deep. The world average rate at which oceanic plates are pushed under is 3km per year.


Links for further information:

Oceanic Trenches:

Peru-Chile Trench:



Mid-ocean ridges are a chain of underwater mountains that are all connectedMid-Atlantic Ridge Animation  making them the longest mountain range in the world. They are formed by the motion of the Earth’s plates called plate tectonics. Currents deep inside the Earth’s mantle cause the uplifting of the crust. Magma rising like the wax in a lava lamp rises up and pushes the two side of the plateapart. The magma breaks though to the surface and it cools to create new oceanic crust. The term ridge refers to the ridges of the rift valleys that are created. The Mid-Atlantic ridge we used in our example here is a slow spreading ridge. The rift valleys it has created can be 10-20km wide and have a ridge crest that is up to a 1000 meters high.



Links for further information:

Oceanic ridges:

Seafloor spreading:

Mid-Atlantic ridge:






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