If the volume of continents has been growing since 4 Ga then the area of the ocean basins must have been shrinking. Therefore, by inferring a constant continental freeboard, in addition to constant continental crustal thicknesses and seawater volume, it is possible to calculate the necessary combinations of increased ridge lengths and spreading rates required to displace the seawater in the larger oceans of the past in order to maintain the constant freeboard. A reasonable choice from the various possibilities is that at 4 Ga ago, the ridge length and spreading rates were ca. 2.5 times greater than the averages of these parameters during the past 200 Ma. By 2.5 Ga ago the ridge length and spreading rate decreased to about 1.8 times the recent average and by 1 Ga ago these features became reduced to approximately 1.4 times recent averages. ?? 1989.
Additional publication details
How the growth and freeboard of continents may relate to geometric and kinematic parameters of mid-ocean spreading ridges