2004 Update

Ultraslow Ridges Working Group - Update October 2004

The Arctic and SW Indian Ridge Working Groups were extremely successful, ending their activities with a huge bang in 2003 with the publication of no less than 4 Nature papers based on Arctic and SW Indian Ridge research. At the InterRidge Next Decade meeting in Bremen in June 2003, it was decided to merge these two groups into a single group whose mission is based more on science than on geography.

In the last few years there have been a number of highly successful cruises, the EDUL cruises to the SW Indian Ridge, the Knorr cruises to the SWIR oblique spreading Center, and the ARK XV/2 (1999) and AMORE 2001 expeditions, which opened up the high arctic to mid-ocean ridge research.

Recently, the exploration of Lena Trough (Polarstern ARK XX-2) has brought a new focus on the role of ultraslow spreading on continental breakup. Slow and ultraslow spreading ridges have played a key role in the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea since the Permian, and except for a few well-studied cases of volcanic rifting, most of the Pangean breakup appears to have occurred at ultra-slow spreading rates and under conditions of magmatic starvation, at least in the initial rifitng phases.

There will be a special session at the Fall AGU relevant to ultraslow ridges: T16: Influence of plate boundary geometry on magmatism and mantle melting, convened by Jennifer Georgen.

There will be a special session VGP22: Slow to ultraslow spreading and non-volcanic continental margins convened by J. Snow at the EGU General Assembly in Vienne, Austria, 24 - 29 April 2005.

We are planning an international workshop on Ultraslow spreading ridges to be help in europe in early 2006, Co-Conveners J. Snow and H. Dick