Ophiolites, known to geologists for a long time, have acquired new esteem in view of the fact that they represent oceanic crust which we may visit on dry land. How is it possible that the first 10–15 km of this crust shear off and then creep along the floor of the ocean before climbing onto a continental margin? We shall find an answer when we investigate the best-preserved ophiolite belt, that of Oman on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. How are we to reconstruct the framework of an active ridge from the debris of this ophiolitic shipwreck? After a general discussion, we shall show that there are two main types of ophiolites and we shall see in the subsequent chapters that the two types are derived, the one from slow-, the other from fast-spreading ridges.
KeywordsZirconium Cretaceous Hull Subduction Lithosphere
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