VUME Upper Mantle of the Earth

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Magnetic Striping.






Magma contains many materials which are magnetically affected. When this magma is ejected from the mantle and begins forming new crust, these materials align to the earth's magnetic field. The crust hardens, and the magnetic alignment is fixed (just as in normal magnets, made by using a similar process). The magnetic fields are 'visile' in strips of material, hence the term 'magnetic striping'.
Oceanographic exploration in the 1950s led to a much better understanding of the ocean floor. Among the new findings was the discovery of zebra stripe-like magnetic patterns for the rocks of the ocean floor.







Two young British geologists, Frederick Vine and Drummond Matthews, and also Lawrence Morley of the Canadian Geological Survey, suspected that the magnetic pattern was no accident. In 1963, they hypothesized that the magnetic striping was produced by repeated reversals of the Earth's magnetic field, not as earlier thought, by changes in intensity of the magnetic field or by other causes. Field reversals had already been demonstrated for magnetic rocks on the continents, and a logical next step was to see if these continental magnetic reversals might be correlated in geologic time with the oceanic magnetic striping. About the same time as these exciting discoveries were being made on the ocean floor, new techniques for determining the geologic ages of rocks ("dating") were also developing rapidly.
Magnetic Strips Isotopic Clock An observed magnetic profile (blue) for the ocean floor across the East Pacific Rise is matched quite well by a calculated profile (red) based on the Earth's magnetic reversals for the past 4 million years and an assumed constant rate of movement of ocean floor away from a hypothetical spreading center (bottom). The remarkable similarity of these two profiles provided one of the clinching arguments in support of the seafloor spreading hypothesis.