10 how old are the oldest rocks of the ocean floor? Ideas

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ldest ocean crust formed 340 million years ago

160816 tethys 1

Plate reconstruction maps at 360, 340 and 320 million years ago (bottom left to upper right), around the time a new ocean formed in what is now the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Roi Granot

The world’s oldest oceanic crust – around 340 million years old – lies at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, according to a geologist in Israel.

Roi Granot at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba analysed patterns of Earth’s magnetic field locked in submerged rocks and, working backwards, calculated a patch to have formed when the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart during the Palaeozoic era.

His work was published in Nature Geoscience.

Earth’s crust is a constantly recycling and evolving. As plates slip beneath others into the mantle of hot rock below, new crust is formed at oceanic ridges – volcanic strips that spew vast amounts of magma onto the surface of the crust.

But this means that most oceanic crust today is less than 200 million years old. Continental crust, on the other hand, is less dense and “floats” on the mantle. This means parts of it push into billion-year-old territory.

Could chunks of ancient oceanic crust remain today? Geologists have suspected so – a 2014 study that traced the movements of the continents over hundreds of millions of years predicted some may still be around.

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The crust is thought to have once been part of the southern Tethys Ocean which formed when the Pangaea supercontinent tore apart a little.

The problem was the site today is the so-called Herodotus Basin – the north eastern edge of the African plate sits under the eastern Mediterranean Sea – and it is buried under more than 10 kilometres of silt. 

Digging through the sediment to check how old that crust is, and even if it’s oceanic crust at all and not just submerged continental crust, would be an expensive, time-consuming exercise.

So Granot took advantage of the Earth’s changing magnetic field to find answers.

As hot rock pours from volcanic rifts, it cools. While the rock is still soft, magnetic compounds align with the planet’s magnetic field at the time, then set in place.

Over millions of years, Earth’s magnetic field has wandered around. This creates magnetic strips in the crust – a little like a barcode where each stripe is a time stamp.

Between 2012 and 2014, Granot collected data from a sensor that measured these magnetic stripes, called a magnetometer, which was towed behind a boat.

Some 7,000 kilometres of sea floor were covered – and they allowed Granot to create a map of the eastern Mediterranean Sea floor.

He saw 250-kilometre-long striations in the Herodotus Basin consistent with volcanic oceanic ridges. And by tracing the skewed patterns in the stripes, he calculated the seafloor to have formed roughly 340 million years ago (plus or minus 25 million years).

If the basin is a remnant of the Tethys Ocean, this means the ocean formed around 100 million years earlier than previously thought.

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Belinda Smith

Belinda Smith

Belinda Smith is a science and technology journalist in Melbourne, Australia.

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Earth's oldest ocean crust formed 340 million years ago

Earth's oldest ocean crust formed 340 million years ago

  • Author: cosmosmagazine.com

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  • Sumary: During the late Palaeozoic Era, a tear appeared in the supercontinent Gondwana and an ocean filled the hole. Today, a geologist says, part of that ocean floor remains buried deep under Mediterranean silt. Belinda Smith reports.

  • Matching Result: The world’s oldest oceanic crust – around 340 million years old – lies at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, according to a …

  • Intro: Earth’s oldest ocean crust formed 340 million years ago Plate reconstruction maps at 360, 340 and 320 million years ago (bottom left to upper right), around the time a new ocean formed in what is now the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Roi Granot The world’s oldest oceanic crust – around 340…
  • Source: https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/earth-sciences/earths-oldest-ocean-crust-formed-340-million-years-ago/

Worldwide, the oldest rocks at the ocean floor are about 180 …

Worldwide, the oldest rocks at the ocean floor are about 180 ...

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The Age of the Ocean Floor – ThoughtCo

The Age of the Ocean Floor - ThoughtCo

  • Author: thoughtco.com

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  • Sumary: The oceanic crust is younger than the continental crust, rarely reaching more than 180 million years old. Here is how the age is determined.

  • Matching Result: The oceanic crust is younger than the continental crust, rarely reaching more than 180 million years old. Here is how the age is determined.

  • Intro: Mapping and Dating the Ocean Floor, the Least Known Part of Earth The youngest crust of the ocean floor can be found near the seafloor spreading centers or mid-ocean ridges. As the plates split apart, magma rises from below the Earth’s surface to fill in the empty void. The magma…
  • Source: https://www.thoughtco.com/how-old-is-the-ocean-floor-3960755

World's oldest ocean crust dates back to ancient supercontinent

World's oldest ocean crust dates back to ancient supercontinent

  • Author: newscientist.com

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  • Sumary: The rock at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean is 340 million years old, and could yield secrets of the formation – and breakup – of the ancient Pangaea continent

  • Matching Result: The oldest patch of undisturbed oceanic crust on Earth may lie deep beneath the eastern Mediterranean Sea – and at about 340 million years …

  • Intro: World’s oldest ocean crust dates back to ancient supercontinent By Emily Benson The oldest known bit of oceanic crust is sitting at the bottom of the Mediterraneanincamerastock/Alamy Stock Photo The oldest patch of undisturbed oceanic crust on Earth may lie deep beneath the eastern Mediterranean Sea – and at about…
  • Source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2100988-worlds-oldest-ocean-crust-dates-back-to-ancient-supercontinent/

Map of Oceanic Crust Ages in the Atlantic

Map of Oceanic Crust Ages in the Atlantic

  • Author: ucmp.berkeley.edu

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  • Matching Result: This map shows the ages of the crustal rocks that make up the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Red represents the youngest rocks; the deepest red marks the Mid- …

  • Intro: Ocean Crust Ages Map of Oceanic Crust Ages in the Atlantic This map shows the ages of the crustal rocks that make up the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Red represents the youngest rocks; the deepest red marks the Mid-Oceanic Ridge, where continental plates are pulling apart and new crust…
  • Source: https://ucmp.berkeley.edu/tectonics/atlantic.html

Frequently Asked Questions About how old are the oldest rocks of the ocean floor?

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic how old are the oldest rocks of the ocean floor?, then this section may help you solve it.

Where on the ocean floor are the oldest rocks?

Mediterranean Sea in the east

How old are the rocks in the ocean?

The inclusion of pockets of Mesozoic-aged crust in the Atlantic and Mediterranean as well as improvements to the Jurassic Pacific triangle lead us to the conclusion that the average age of oceanic crust is b>64.2 Myr/b>, which is slightly older than previous estimates.

What portions of the ocean floor are the oldest and less than 200 million years old?

Because it is frequently recycled back into the Earth’s mantle at subduction zones (where two tectonic plates collide), the majority of oceanic crust is less than 200 million years old. However, a new study indicates that a portion of the eastern Mediterranean Sea may contain the oldest known oceanic crust.

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Why are the ocean floor’s oldest rocks only 180 million years old?

The oldest sea floor is subducted under other plates and replaced by new surfaces, so very little of the ocean floor is older than 150 million years. The tectonic plates are constantly moving and new surfaces are constantly being created.

The bottom has the oldest rocks, right?

The sediments build up over time to form horizontal layers of sedimentary rocks, with the top layer being the youngest of all. The bottom layer of rock forms first, making it the oldest.

Where can I find the oldest rock on Earth?

The oldest rock on Earth is found in Canada, along the northeastern coast of Hudson Bay. It is 4.28 billion years old.

The oldest rocks on Earth how old are they?

The oldest dated rocks on Earth are more than 4 billion years old and were created during the Hadean Eon of Earth’s geological history as an amalgam of minerals that have not since been destroyed by erosion or melting.

The oldest ocean sediment is how old?

The earliest sediment record found is only 500 meters long but is approximately 170 million years old.

Why is the oldest sea floor only 180 million years old despite the Earth being about 4.6 billion years old?

Although the Earth’s oceanic crust has been forming for more than 4 billion years, plate tectonics has recycled all of the ocean floor older than 200 million years.

Why does the Earth’s surface not extend beneath the ocean?

The oldest seafloor, which has been radiometrically dated to only about 200 million years (Duxbury et al.), is actually much younger than the Earth as a whole because the ocean floor is constantly being created and destroyed.

We know that the ocean has existed on Earth for billions of years, so why do the oldest dates found on the ocean floor only go back about 200 million years?

While the Earth’s continental crust can last for billions of years, subduction, or when the ocean crust is pushed down into the molten mantle, is caused by movement of tectonic plates, so the ocean floor rarely lasts longer than 200 million years.

Why do scientists think the Earth is older than the planet’s oldest rocks?

The Earth’s oldest rocks have been recycled and destroyed by the movement of the lithospheric plates around our planet, and if there are any remaining primordial rocks on Earth, they have not yet been found, thus necessitating the use of other space bodies to determine the age of our planet.

How old is the Earth, according to the Bible?

The genealogical records from the Bible and the creation story in Genesis 1 are used to calculate an estimated age for the Earth and universe of about 6000 years. However, there is some doubt about the accuracy of the genealogical records, leaving room for a few thousand years more.

What is the world’s oldest rock?

U/Pb dates of zircon from the gneiss reach into the Hadean Eon at 4.02 Ga, making it the oldest intact rock discovered on Earth to this point.

What is the planet’s oldest land?

Australia holds the oldest continental crust on Earth, researchers have confirmed, with hills that are about 4.4 billion years old. The oldest known piece of continental crust on Earth dates to the time of the moon’s formation.

The oldest rock we’ve discovered on Earth is how old?

The oldest zircons date back 4.36 billion years and come from grains in Western Australia.

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