The Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone

The Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ) is the largest geological fault in the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Iceland and the Azores. Its spectacular topography has been formed by the geological forces that pull the American and African continental plates apart and allow fresh magma to rise. The fracture cuts across this ridge for 2000 km in east-west direction with two parallel valleys and ridges. From the tops of adjacent seamounts at 700-800 m depth the terrain plunges down to the seafloor at around 4500 m. It provides the only deepwater and -faunal exchange between the North-East and North-West Atlantic. However, the deep fauna on the eastern and western flanks of the ridge still remain fairly isolated from each other.