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Ocean Ridges, rift, and midAtlantic Rift

Ocean ridges are the newest part of the Earth’s crust since this is a plate boundary characterized by active volcanism associated with the divergent boundary described in our lesson on plate tectonics. These ocean ridges are also called rift zones such as the MidAtlantic Rift.


Black smokers

are volcanic vents that pump large amounts of dissolved minerals and gases into the ocean



a cinder volcano that remains submerged throughout its lifetime generally has a conical shape like most cinder volcanoes. As spreading continues the seamount moves away from the ridge and becomes part of the abyssal plain.



a cinder cone that protrudes above the water surface will often suffer erosion from wind and waves resulting in a flat-topped volcano. As spreading continues, the guyot moves away from the ridgeline along with the plate, submerges and becomes part of the abyssal plain.


Fast spreading

rates lead to low profile ridges


Slow spreading

rates lead to high profile or bumpy ridges