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The Ridge extends into the South Atlantic Ocean between the South American and African Plates.
The ocean ridge rises to between 2 to 3 km above the ocean floor, and has a rift valley at its crest marking the location at which the two plates are moving apart.
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They assumed too that the rock at the bottom of the ocean floor was made of the same basic stuff as the continents. Rather than the featureless void they had expected, the ocean floors were riddled with complicated mountain ranges and valleys.
Long-age believers insist that hundreds of meters of sediment require at least hundreds of thousands of years to deposit.
Given that DNA degrades relatively quickly, the team faced the significant challenge of explaining how DNA could persist long enough to get buried beneath that much sediment.
There was also a lot less sediment on top than predicted. Early work on the ocean floor had been done by the Challenger expedition in the 1870s, using sounding techniques that involved seeing how far a rope with lead at the end would drop.
The researchers thought the chloroplast DNA (cp DNA) must have come from near-surface light-gathering organisms like diatoms, and not mud-dwelling organisms like bacteria.
Discovering cp DNA from dead diatoms near the top of the seafloor presents no challenge, but these researchers found it hundreds of meters down.
One summary paper available on the project website says, The sediments are generally highly bioturbated.
However, fine-scale lamination preserving alternations between millimeter scale laminae of biogenic and terrigenous material are also present at several of the drilled sites.In the journal DNA is not supposed to last that long. The trio referenced a 2012 report led by Morten Allentoft, now with the Natural History Museum of Denmark's Centre for Geo Genetics.