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Sea floor spreading, from 140 million years ago to the present.

Hemisphere on left shows the Indian Ocean opening up, with new oceanic crust being formed (red).

Hemisphere on right shows the closing of the Pacific Ocean. Note how the formation of new oceanic crust does not keep up with its loss by subduction under the America's.

Credit: Alex Copley, TO
Data from Karl Mueller, University of Colorado at Boulder

Tectonics Observatory :: California Institute of Technology
Last updated: September 25, 2009 :: Contact Us