I just read this article and was astonished to see the following:
Oceanographers stumbled on [the mid-oceanic ridges'] volcanic nature in 1973.
What I find surprising is how recent that is.
- the history of geology in general goes back at least 3 or 4 centuries
- the study of plate tectonics goes back to 1912 (even though it took a few more decades to gain wide acceptance)
- oceanic ridges were known at least as early as 1872
- the correlation between seismic activity and volcanoes has been known for some time (I don't know exactly how long, but certainly the Romans felt the ground shaking when Vesuvius' erupted)
Then my question is, with regards to the (seemingly unusually) recent date quoted in the above article:
Why did the discovery of volcanic activity at sub-oceanic plate boundaries take so long?