Youngest Ocean on Earth

Updated July 24, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The Question:

What is the youngest ocean on Earth?

The Answer:

The Atlantic Ocean is the planet's youngest ocean.

It was believed to have been created by the splitting apart of a vast super continent on Earth about 180 million years ago. This split gave us the land masses that occur today in the Eastern (Europe/Asia/Africa) and Western (North/South America) hemispheres. The area between those two land masses became the Atlantic Ocean.

More conclusive evidence of this split can be found along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Geologists have identified the ridge as the source of new crust material rising from the earth's mantle. This new rock, in essence, pushes the continental plates that meet at the Ridge farther apart.

In other words, the Atlantic is growing (just like we did when we were young). On average the Atlantic basin is widening at a rate of about 1-10 centimeters a year.

To learn more about this topic, check out our World Geography channel.

-The Editors

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