How Do Magnetic Stripes Form on the Ocean Floor?

Plate tectonics and reversals of the Earth's magnetic field are responsible for the magnetic stripes found on the ocean floor. When magma flows out of a mid-ocean ridge, small, magnetic minerals in the magma align themselves to point in the direction of the Earth's current magnetic North. Over time, the Earth's magnetic field reverses its north-to-south polarity, and the magnetic minerals point in the opposite direction, creating a striped pattern.