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Driving Along the Ocean Floor, Part 3



Driving Along the Ocean Floor, Part 3
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.42

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    guyot, hydrothermal, mid-ocean, seamount, tubeworms, compounds, excess, greatly, estimate, magma, mantle, seamounts, volcanic, violent, core, spectacular
     content words:    Hawaiian Islands


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Driving Along the Ocean Floor, Part 3
By Patti Hutchison
  

1     As you drive along the mountains of the mid-ocean ridge, you see a spectacular sight- a volcano erupting. We tend to think of volcanoes as high, rocky mountains on land. But most of the earth's volcanoes are hidden below the sea. Scientists estimate that there are over 20,000 volcanoes rising from the ocean floor. These volcanoes produce about 75% of the magma that rises to the earth's surface.
 
2     Underwater volcanoes form where the earth's plates meet. Sometimes these plates move over a hot spot. The magma moves up through them. Other volcanoes are formed in a different way. One plate is pushed below another. The bottom plate melts. The magma rises though the plate on top. Either way, the result is a volcanic eruption.
 
3     Eruptions of volcanoes are not as violent under the ocean. When lava erupts into the cold water of the ocean, a solid crust forms quickly. The increased pressure keeps the water from boiling even though temperatures are much greater than one hundred degrees Celsius.

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