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ENGLISH
Asked by Liam

Where are the oldest parts of the oceanic crust found?

The oldest parts of oceanic crust only reach around 200-260 million years old, which is relatively young compared to continental crust because it goes through a recycling process. New, young oceanic crust is formed at mid-ocean ridges, where seafloor spreading occurs. As the seafloor spreads over time, the crust gets colder and denser with age. The oceanic crust, thus gets to a point where it so dense it starts to sink or 'subduct' into the upper mantle. The slab of oceanic crust melts and is 'recycled' back into the mantle at plate boundaries called subduction zones. Therefore, the oldest parts of oceanic crust can be found at subduction zones, where they are near the end of their life cycle.

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John Dor
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