Global Geochemistry of Mid-Ocean Ridge BasaltsKent Ratajeski
Published Oct. 15, 2006.
Geological processes at the mid-ocean ridges are responsible for the bulk of the Earth's heat loss and volcanic activity. The compositions of materials erupted at these locations, dominantly mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB's), have profound implications for the inner workings of the Earth's mantle, the construction of oceanic crust, and global plate tectonics. In this exercise, students replicate a portion of a classic paper on MORB geochemistry [Klein and Langmuir, 1987] , but using a much larger global geochemical dataset downloaded from the PETDB database. Through a series of activities and questions, students are encouraged to think about the petrologic and geodynamic processes controlling the composition of Earth's most abundant volcanic rocks.