Gakkel Ridge

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The most mysterious mountain ranges on Earth are not found on land, but far beneath the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean. The Gakkel Ridge may be one of the deepest and slowest- forming of these mid-ocean ridges, spreading less than one centimeter per year. In 1999, a scientific expedition yielded evidence that this 1,800 km mountain chain between Greenland and Siberia has very active volcanoes and hydrothermal vents.

It is thought that the depths of the central Arctic Ocean may have been isolated from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for many millions of years. As a result, Gakkel Ridge hydrothermal vent animals could be very different from those found elsewhere on Earth. Although there are few published reports about the Gakkel Ridge because of the recent nature of the research, scientists hope to unlock many of the planet's secrets at this site.

Learn more about the broader region: Arctic