Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




WATER WORLD
The Red Sea - An Ocean Like All Others, After All
by Staff Writers
Kiel, Germany (SPX) May 08, 2014


Bathymetry of a 70-kilometer long section of the rift zone in the Red Sea. In the lower right is the same section in the previous resolution. Image courtesy N. Augustin, GEOMAR.

Actually, the Red Sea is an ideal study object for marine geologists. There they can observe the formation of an ocean in its early phase. However, the Red Sea seemed to go through a different birthing process than the other oceans. Now, Scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah were able to show that salt glaciers have distorted the previous models. The study was just published in the international journal "Earth and Planetary Science Letters".

Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean, with the land masses of the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia in between - that's how we know our earth. From a geologist's point of view, however, this is only a snapshot. Over the course of the earth's history, many different continents have formed and split again. In between oceans were created, new seafloor was formed and disappeared again: Plate tectonics is the generic term for these processes.

The Red Sea, where currently the Arabian Peninsula separates from Africa, is one of the few places on earth where the splitting of a continent and the emergence of the ocean can be observed.

During a three-year joint project, the Jeddah Transect Project (JTP), researchers at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, have taken a close look at this crack in the earth's crust by means of seabed mapping, sampling and magnetic modeling.

"The findings have shed new light on the early stages of oceanic basins, and they specifically change the school of thought on the Red Sea," says Dr. Nico Augustin from GEOMAR, lead author of the study. It has now been published in the scientific journal "Earth and Planetary Science Letters".

It is, and was, undisputed that a continent is stretched and thinned out by volcanic activity before it ruptures and a new ocean basin is formed. The rifting occurs where the greatest stretching takes place. However, the detailed processes during the break-up are debated in research. On the one hand, one needs to better understand the dynamics of our home planet.

"On the other hand, most marine oil and gas resources are located near such former fracture zones. This research can therefore also have economic and political implications," says Professor Colin Devey (GEOMAR), co-author of the study.

Until now, conventional knowledge said that a continent is breaking apart more or less simultaneously along an entire line, and the ocean basin is formed all at once. The Red Sea, however, did not fit into this picture. Here, a model was favored with several smaller fracture zones, lined up one after the other, that would unite gradually, which in turn would lead to a relatively slow emergence of the ocean during a long transition phase.

"Our studies show that the Red Sea is not an exception but that it takes its place in line with the other ocean basins," says Augustin. The previous picture we had of the ocean floor in the Red Sea was simply corrupted by salt glaciers. "The volcanic rocks we recovered are similar to those from other normal mid-ocean ridges," says co-author Froukje van der Zwan, working on her PhD as part of the JTP.

During the early formation stages of the Red Sea, the area was covered by a very shallow sea that dried up repeatedly. This created thick salt deposits that later on broke apart with the continental crust. Over geologic time periods, salt shows tar-like behavior and begins to flow.

"Our new high-resolution seabed maps and magnetic modeling show that the kilometer-thick salt deposits, after the break-up of the Arabian Plate from Africa, flowed like glaciers toward the newly created trench and thus over the oceanic crust due to gravity," says Augustin. Since these submarine salt glaciers do not cover the rifting zone uniformly over the entire length, the impression of several small fracture zones was created.

The consequences of this discovery are profound: For one, there really seems to be only one single mechanism worldwide for the dispersal of a continent. And secondly, is not yet known how much ocean crust is covered by salt. This questions the previous dating of the opening of the Red Sea. In addition, the volcanically active trench rift zone of the Red Sea, surrounded by salt glaciers, is host of a giant sink filled with a very hot and very salty solution.

"Since the sediment in the salt solution is rich in metals, this so-called Atlantis II Deep is also of economic interest," says co-author Devey. It is quite conceivable that over the course of the earth's history similar deposits associated with volcanism and salt deposits were created during the opening phase of other oceans. "Thus, our studies help to clarify older research questions. But they also provide starting points for new investigations in all of the oceans," says Augustin.

Augustin, N., C. W. Devey, F. M. van der Zwan, Peter Feldens, M. Tominaga, R. A. Bantan, T. Kwasnitschka (2014): The rifting to spreading transition in the Red Sea. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 395

.


Related Links
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Probing the Depths of the Methane World
Moffett Field CA (SPX) May 01, 2014
In 2011, Jennifer Glass joined a scientific cruise to study a methane seep off of Oregon's coast. In these cold, dark depths, microbes buried in the sediment feast on methane that seeps through the seafloor. A product of their metabolism, bicarbonate, reacts with calcium in seawater to form tall rocky deposits. The chemical energy these organisms extract from methane supports a vibrant und ... read more


WATER WORLD
Astrobotic Partners With NASA To Develop Robotic Lunar Landing Capability

John C. Houbolt, Unsung Hero of the Apollo Program, Dies at Age 95

NASA Completes LADEE Mission with Planned Impact on Moon's Surface

Russia plans to get a foothold in the Moon

WATER WORLD
Nonprofit says: fire missiles at Mars to dig for signs of life

ISS research shows that hardy little space travelers could colonize Mars

Target on Mars Looks Good for NASA Rover Drilling

Mars Rover Switches to Driving Backwards Due to Elevated Wheel Currents

WATER WORLD
'Convergent' Research Solves Problems that Cross Disciplinary Boundaries

Pioneering Mercury Astronauts Launched America's Future

NASA Invests in Hundreds of US Small Businesses to Enable Future Missions

Boeing Showcases Future Commercial Spacecraft Interior

WATER WORLD
China issues first assessment on space activities

China launches experimental satellite

Tiangong's New Mission

"Space Odyssey": China's aspiration in future space exploration

WATER WORLD
NASA Seeks to Evolve ISS for New Commercial Opportunities

Astronauts Complete Short Spacewalk to Replace Backup Computer

No Official Confirmation of NASA Severing Ties with Russian Space Agency

Astronauts Prep for Spacewalk as Mission Managers Evaluate Busy Schedule

WATER WORLD
Pre-launch processing begins for the O3b Networks satellites

Parallel Ariane 5 and Soyuz mission campaigns keep Arianespace on track

ILS Satellite Launches Remain on Schedule Despite Sanctions

Second O3b satellite cluster delivered for upcoming Arianespace Soyuz launch

WATER WORLD
Length of Exoplanet Day Measured for First Time

Spitzer and WISE Telescopes Find Close, Cold Neighbor of Sun

Alien planet's rotation speed clocked for first time

Seven Samples from the Solar System's Birth

WATER WORLD
Radio waves affect migrating birds: study

Berkeley Develops Nanoscope To Probe Molecular Scale Chemistry

Regenerating plastic grows back after damage

A hydrogel that knows when to go




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.