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seafloor spreading

Introduction

seafloor spreading, theory of lithospheric evolution that holds that the ocean floors are spreading outward from vast underwater ridges. First proposed in the early 1960s by the American geologist Harry H. Hess, its major tenets gave great support to the theory of continental drift and provided a conceptual base for the development of plate tectonics.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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