What is Mid-Ocean Ridge? Learn about Important Facts & Features

Mid-Ocean Ridge is one of the ocean relief features. By definition, mid-ocean ridge is a seafloor mountain range system formed by plate tectonics. It is composed of two chains of mountains. The two mountain chains are separated by a large depression in between.

Quick Facts on Mid-Ocean Ridge

  • Formed by: Plate tectonics
  • Length of the Ocean Ridge System:  80,000 km or 49,700 miles. Out of the total, the continuous mountain range is 65,000 km or 40,400 miles long.
  • Depth:  2600 meters or 8500 feet (at the spreading center on a mid-ocean ridge)
  • Other names:  Mid-oceanic ridges or MOR

Important Features

  • Plate tectonic boundaries connect all the mid-ocean ridge systems of the world forming the Ocean Ridge.  The single integrated mid-ocean ridge marks its presence in every ocean of the world. It is technically the longest mountain system on the Earth.
  • The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is the first-ever discovered mid-ocean ridge. It is a divergent plate boundary located along the Atlantic Ocean which bisects the North and South Atlantic Basin.
  • Occurrence of earthquakes and volcanism are common near the mid-ocean ridge sites.
mid ocean ridge formation
  • The geologic process of seafloor spreading occurs at mid-ocean ridges. Seafloor spreading is part of plate tectonics theory which helps in explaining the continental drift.  New oceanic crust is formed in the seafloor spreading process through volcanic activity and the crust so formed gradually moves away from the ridge. It is the rate of this seafloor spreading process which influences the width and crest morphology of the mid-ocean ridge.
  • Not all mid-ocean ridges are situated in the middle of the ocean.
  • The traces of the ridge looks exactly like a baseball seam.
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List of Major Active Mid-Ocean Ridges

Here is a list of all major active mid-ocean ridges of the world with details.

List of Major Mid-Ocean Ridges
Name of the Mid-Ocean Ridge Hosting Ocean Details
Aden Ridge Indian Ocean It is located in the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and the Arabian Peninsula. Aden Ridge is an active oblique rift system.
Cocos Ridge Pacific Ocean It is a young oceanic tectonic plate located off the west coast of Central America.
Explorer Ridge Pacific Ocean Located in the northern extremity of the Pacific spreading axis, it lies in the west of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Galapagos Ridge Pacific Ocean Located in the East Pacific Ocean between Cocos Plate to the north and Nazca Plate to the south. The volcanically active Galapagos hotspot is situated above the Galapagos ridge. The hotspot is responsible for the creation of the Galapagos Islands along with the aseismic ridge systems Carnegie, Cocos, and Malpelo.
Gorda Ridge Pacific Ocean It is located between the northern coast of California and southern Oregon. Due to its close proximity to Mendocino Triple Junction, the Gorda Ridge area experiences high seismic activity.
Juan de Fuca Ridge Pacific Ocean Located off the coast of the Pacific Northwest region of North America, it separates the eastern Juan de Fuca Plate and western the Pacific Plate.
South American-Antarctic Ridge Atlantic Ocean It lies between the South American Plate and the Antarctic Plate
Chile Ridge Pacific Ocean The divergent plate boundary between the Nazca Plate and the Antarctic Plate.
East Pacific Ridge Pacific Ocean It is located between the Pacific Plate on one side (west) and the North American Plate, the Rivera Plate, the Cocos Plate, the Nazca Plate, and the Antarctic Plate on the other side (north to south).
Gakkel Ridge Arctic Ocean It is located between the North American Plate & Eurasian Plate in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean. It was previously called the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge or the Narsen Cordillera.
Pacific-Antarctic Ridge Pacific Ocean As the name suggests, this ridge separates Pacific Plate from Antarctic Plate. It is located in the South Pacific Ocean.
Central Indian Ridge Indian Ocean Located in the western Indian Ocean, it is known for traditionally separating the African Ocean Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate.
Carlsberg Ridge Indian Ocean It is the northern section of Central Indian Ridge.
Southeast Indian Ridge Indian Ocean It is located between the Macquarie Triple Junction in the Pacific Ocean and the Rodrigues Triple Junction in the Indian Ocean.
Southwest Indian Ridge Indian Ocean /Atlantic Ocean Located across the floors of the Southeast Atlantic Ocean and the Southwest Indian Ocean.
Mid-Atlantic Ridge Atlantic Ocean This divergent plate boundary is part of the longest mountain range in the world. It separates Eurasian and North American Plate in North Atlantic. It also separates African and South American Plate in the South Atlantic.
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Mid-Ocean Ridge System on World Map

mid ocean ridge system shown on world map