What is it about?

The geomorphologies of fault escarpments and other features were studied by digitising the summaries of submersible dives on mid-ocean ridges so that any systematic variations could be assessed. The results revealed very little difference in surface gradient between most lithologies, although serpentinite and other rocks originating from Earth's mantle were found to have lower gradients. The results also quantified the dip angles of submarine talus ramps, which were found to average between 28˚ and 30˚, somewhat shallower than subaerial talus ramps but only modestly so.

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Why is it important?

The lack of any major difference in slope gradient between most lithologies suggests that geomorphology revealed by seabed mapping sonars will be a poor indication of lithology.

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This page is a summary of: Seafloor slopes at mid-ocean ridges from submersible observations and implications for interpreting geology from seafloor topography, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, December 2000, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/s0012-821x(00)00270-3.
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