Updated: Oct 11, 2021
What do you think would be the longest mountain range in the world and where do you think it would be located? Is it the Rocky Mountains extending from Canada to the United States with a span of 4800 kilometers or Andes(South America) which has a span of 7000 kilometers? We can only think about mountain ranges on land but in reality, the longest mountain range is underwater.
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which stretches over 65,000 kilometers, is the world's longest mountain range. In the North Atlantic, it divides the Eurasian Plate from the North American Plate, while in the South Atlantic, it separates the African Plate from the South American Plate. The Ridge stretches from northeast of Greenland to the Bouvet Triple Junction in the South Atlantic, where it meets the Gakkel Ridge (Mid-Arctic Ridge).
A mountain range is a connected group of mountains. The shape and content of the mountains in a particular mountain range are similar. Mountain ranges are produced when tectonic plates clash, resulting in land rises and magma, which results in the formation of mountains. The solidification of lava that extends across the ocean floor creates underwater mountains. Huge amount of seismic waves(earthquake waves) have been detected here.
Photo Credit- steemkr.com
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge spans 40,389 miles around the globe that is one and a half times the circumference of the globe itself. Matthew Fontaine Maury initially inferred a ridge under the Atlantic Ocean in 1850. The existence of this ridge was confirmed during the expedition by HMS Challenger in the year 1872. Ninety percent of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is underwater and the only place on earth where you can watch it on the earth's surface is in Iceland. Mid-Atlantic ridge occurs at the places where the new ocean floor is formed by the force created by tectonic plates. Every year, this ridge is increasing at a rate of 2-5 cm in the Atlantic ocean. Less than 1 percent of the mid-Atlantic ridge has been explored yet.
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The MAR-ECO research was the first underwater expedition in the mid-Atlantic ridge to collect specimens and examine them, and it found the first evidence of a spinning plankton bloom, as well as new species of anglerfish and brilliant red squid.
Marine geologists used the geothermal heat flux method to discover hydrothermal vents, which are oceanic volcanoes, in the mid-Atlantic ridge. It is home to a variety of organisms and geographical structures and without these structures such as valleys, the ocean water wouldn't have circulated well and marine organisms wouldn't have survived. Hence, this underwater mountain range is of utmost importance.