An extract on #traveldeeper
The MAR divides the Atlantic longitudinally into two halves, in each of which a series of basins are delimited by secondary, transverse ridges. The MAR reaches above 2,000 m (6,600 ft) along most of its length, but is interrupted by larger transform faults at two places: the Romanche Trench near the Equator and the Gibbs Fracture Zone at 53N. The MAR is a barrier for bottom water, but at these two transform faults deep water currents can pass from one side to the other.
The MAR rises 23 km (1.21.9 mi) above the surrounding ocean floor and its rift valley is the divergent boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates in the North Atlantic and the South American and African plates in the South Atlantic. The MAR produces basaltic volcanoes in Eyjafjallajkull, Iceland, and pillow lava on the ocean floor. The depth of water at the apex of the ridge is less than 2,700 m (1,500 fathoms; 8,900 ft) in most places, while the bottom of the ridge is three times as deep.
The MAR is intersected by two perpendicular ridges: the AzoresGibraltar Transform Fault, the boundary between the Nubian and Eurasian plates, intersects the MAR at the Azores Triple Junction, on either side of the Azores microplate, near the 40N. A much vaguer, nameless boundary, between the North American and South American plates, intersects the MAR near or just north of the Fifteen-Twenty Fracture Zone, approximately at 16N.
In the 1870s, the Challenger expedition discovered parts of what is now known as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, or:
An elevated ridge rising to an average height of about 1,900 fathoms [3,500 m; 11,400 ft] below the surface traverses the basins of the North and South Atlantic in a meridianal direction from Cape Farewell, probably its far south at least as Gough Island, following roughly the outlines of the coasts of the Old and the New Worlds.
The remainder of the ridge was discovered in the 1920s by the German Meteor expedition using echo-sounding equipment. The exploration of the MAR in the 1950s lead to the general acceptance of seafloor spreading and plate tectonics.
Most of the MAR runs under water but where it reaches the surfaces it has produced volcanic islands. While nine of these have collectively been nominated a World Heritage Site for their geological value, four of them are considered of "Outstanding Universal Value" based on their cultural and natural criteria: ingvellir, Iceland; Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture, Portugal; Gough and Inaccessible Islands, United Kingdom; and Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves, Brazil.