Dr. Roi Granot, a scientific researcher from BGU (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) in Israel recently discovered the earth’s oldest ocean crust under the Mediterranean Sea. It is estimated the crust is 340 million years old and is a significant discover.
Ocean crust is much thinner than continental crust. It is formed when volcanic tubes under the ocean erupt, spewing forth magma from the mantle. When it hits the cooler ocean waters, it starts to harden. During this process the minerals within the magma become magnetized to the earth’s magnetic poles.
As such, they are essentially bar coded time stamps as to when the crust formed, since scientists can determine the direction the magnetic materials were aligned to, and match that to the earth’s magnetic poles for a particular time period.
Ocean crusts have been studied in great detail throughout the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. One important difference between ocean and continental crusts is that ocean crusts are recycled back into the earth along subduction zones. Since the earth recycles ocean crusts on a continuous basis, the oldest ones are roughly believed to be about 200 million years old or less, depending on the area in the world. It was previous believed the crusts in both oceans were among the oldest on the earth.
What makes Dr. Granot’s research interesting and exciting is that, previously, not much research was conducted in the Mediterranean due to a rather thick layer of sedimentary coverage over the ocean crust in this region. However, thanks to advances in technology and magnetic imaging, Dr. Granot was able to overcome this previous obstacle.
As a result, he was able to capture images of the magnetic striping found within the crust at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. He and his team of researchers covered some 7,000 kilometers of sea floor in the Herodotus Basin region from 2012 to 2014. To capture the alignment of the magnetic stripes within the crust, they used a device called a magnetometer that they towed behind their boat.
By using the magnetic striping, along with various patterns within the stripes, Dr. Granot was able to date the sea floor to roughly 340 million years ago. He further hypothesizes that the basin is a remaining remnant from the Tethys Ocean, which existed long before today’s oceans. If his hypothesis is correct, it would also be a great scientific discovery, as it would mean that the world’s oceans formed earlier than currently believed.
Additional research is still needed to further substantiate Dr. Granot’s findings. You can be sure that Dr. Granot and his team of researchers recorded their findings in scientific notebooks for future study and research. These official laboratory notebooks are like the ones you can find at Scientific Notebook Company. Contact us today for official research, laboratory, student, and engineering notebooks for your scientific and engineering projects by calling 800.537.3028.