Osbourn Trough: Structure, geochemistry and implications of a mid-Cretaceous paleospreading ridge in the South Pacific.

Worthington, Tim, Hekinian, R., Stoffers, Peter, Kuhn, Thomas and Hauff, Folkmar (2006) Osbourn Trough: Structure, geochemistry and implications of a mid-Cretaceous paleospreading ridge in the South Pacific. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 245 (3-4). pp. 685-701. DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2006.03.018.

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Osbourn Trough is a key piece in an outstanding problem: do the Ontong Java, Manihiki and Hikurangi large igneous provinces represent a single ~100 million km3 magmatic pulse? Bathymetric mapping of a 145-km-wide swath across the ∼900-km-long Osbourn Trough revealed three segments offset by 23–35-km-long basins that strike perpendicular to the trough axis. Each segment comprises a 10–15-km-wide axial valley bounded by 300–500-m-high ridge mountains, has inside corner highs at its NW and SE margins that rise 1000–1200 m above the axial valley, and has a flanking set of subparallel abyssal hills. Dredging on steep escarpments successfully penetrated thick sediments and recovered Fe–Mn oxyhydroxide-encrusted volcaniclastic breccias. Lava clasts within the breccias have undergone variable degrees of marine weathering, leading to strong enrichment in most alkali elements and the light REE (except Ce). Nevertheless, their immobile element concentrations are consistently MORB-like and they plot within the MORB fields of tectonic discrimination diagrams. Isotope analyses indicate an affinity with Pacific MORB-source mantle.

Both the morphology of Osbourn Trough and geochemistry of its lavas establish that it represents an extinct spreading ridge system. The trough is nearly equidistant (1750 km vs. 1550 km) from the Manihiki and Hikurangi Plateaus, which we interpret as remnants of a formerly contiguous Ontong Java–Manihiki–Hikurangi large igneous province. Inception of the Osbourn spreading ridge was coincident with reorganization of the former Pacific–Phoenix–Farallon spreading system and mega-plateau fragmentation at ∼118 Ma. Spreading across Osbourn Trough ceased when the Hikurangi Plateau collided with and blocked a southward-dipping subduction system developed along the Chatham Rise (eastern New Zealand) sector of the Gondwana margin at ∼86 Ma.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Osbourn Trough; Cretaceous spreading; Manihiki; Hikurangi; marine weathering
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.epsl.2006.03.018
ISSN: 0012-821X
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:50
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2017 13:57
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/3119

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