Internet Problem 1: Plate Tectonics and the Age of the Ocean Crust

Log-in to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website and by reading the map and providing answer the questions below.


For any issues opening this link, there are a variety of versions of this map, in various formats, available at:

A few hints: This is a three-dimensional relief map of the ocean floor showing the age of the oceanic crust at different locations. The key for the color scales is along the bottom of the map.

Click on the map to zoom in.

To learn more about how these maps go to:

Remember the water in the ocean has been collecting for almost 4 billion years, and the oldest ocean floor is much younger.


1) On the map what color represents the oldest oceanic crust?

How old is the oldest crust as shown on the map?

2) On the map what color represents the youngest oceanic crust?

How old is the youngest oceanic crust as shown on the map?

3)In the Atlantic Ocean, where is the youngest oceanic crust located (generally?)

4) In the Atlantic Ocean, where is the oldest oceanic crust located (generally?)

5) In general, geographic terms, describe the distribution of youngest and oldest oceanic crust in the Atlantic Ocean Basin.

6) How old is the oceanic crust along the coastline of Northern California?

7) Is the Northern California coastline crust older or younger than other parts of the Pacific Ocean?

8) Look the Pacific Ocean Basin and compare it to the Atlantic Ocean Basin.Specifically look at the oldest/youngest oceanic crust patterns. Are these ocean basins similar or different?Could they be both? Explain and be specific.

9) From your reading in Chapter 2 does the information given on this map regarding the age of the oceanic crust support the Theory of Plate Tectonics?Explain? (By synthesizing the information from this map and this week assigned reading, draw a correlation between deep ocean topographic features (i.e. mid-oceanic ridges, sea mounts, guyots, ocean trenches, rifts…) and the relative age of crustal material (rock)?)

10) How does plate tectonics as it relates to the formation of ocean basins help to explain the discrepancy in the age of the water in the ocean (collected over 4 billion years) and the maximum ago of the much younger oceanic crust which forms the ocean floors? Explain.

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