Essay: Oceanography What New Phase of Ocean Exploration

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What new phase of ocean exploration started in 1968 with the Glomar Challenger?

A new phase of ocean exploration was started with the Glomar Challenger, where deep water drilling / exploration become a reality. This is significant because prior to the launch of the Glomar Challenger, no one had known the age or the composition of the ocean floor. The way this was conducted was by drilling for specific samples on the ocean floor. Between 1968 and 1974, the Glomar Challenger was able to take samples from all of the various oceans around the globe. As a result, a number of different discoveries were made because of the work conducted by the Glomar Challenger to include: salt domes were discovered. This is a common element that is found where oil / natural gas reserves are located. The discoveries that were made allowed for the development of underwater oil / natural gas exploration. However, the real contribution of the Glomar Challenger is opened up the field of deep water drilling. As the different voyages were able to confirm the Theory of Continental Drift, under this theory the Earth was one single landmass. The samples taken from the Glomar Challenger was able to confirm this through the various core samples. This established how future deep water oceanic exploration would take place. ("Glomar Challenger,"2010)

What techniques are used to study plate tectonics?

The way that the plate tectonics was studied was by drilling a series of holes into various spots along the ocean floor. Then, at various longitudes a series of different samples were taken to determine the age and composition of the ocean floor. This would provide: a basic background as to how the various tectonic plates were moving closer or farther apart. (Maxwell, 1969)

What is the evidence for sea floor spreading?

There was a fracture zone that was discovered between sites 17 and 18 in the Atlantic Ocean. This was dated to be over 66 million years old and the average rate of drift is 2 cm per year. As a result, the fracture zone allowed scientists to confirm that the Earth was actually one continent millions of years ago. This also underscores the fact that the tectonic plate is still continuing to drift, signifying that as the contents are spreading farther apart and the ocean floor is following suit. The drifting that is taking place is consistent from the reading seen taken off the coast of South America. (Maxwell, 1969)

Where are the oldest ocean sediments located?

The oldest ocean sediments were located at: sites 20, 19, 14 and 17.


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