Geological mapping of the Menez Gwen segment at 37°50′N on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: Implications for accretion mechanisms and associated hydrothermal activity at slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges.

Klischies, Meike, Petersen, Sven and Devey, Colin W. (2019) Geological mapping of the Menez Gwen segment at 37°50′N on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: Implications for accretion mechanisms and associated hydrothermal activity at slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges. Marine Geology, 412 . pp. 107-122. DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2019.03.012.

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Supplementary data:

Abstract

Highlights

• Systematic analysis of ship bathymetry enables segment scale geological mapping.
• The Menez Gwen segment experiences magmatic periods every 300 to 500 ka.
• Periods of enhanced magmatic activity are a regional phenomenon.
• Hydrothermalism at Menez Gwen accompanies a waning, intense magmatic period.
• Faulting and along-axis permeability variations focus hydrothermal venting.

Abstract

Slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges have the potential to form large seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposits. Current exploration for SMS deposits commonly targets associated active hydrothermal venting on the ridge axis, which makes the discovery of inactive vent sites and SMS deposits in the off-axis regions unlikely. Geological maps of the seafloor, which help understand the timing and location of SMS formation, usually focus on individual hydrothermal vent sites and their immediate surroundings, and are often too small to aid in SMS exploration. This study uses ship-based multibeam echosounder (MBES) data and a systematic classification scheme to produce a segment-scale geological map. When combined with spreading rate, this allows us to not only reconstruct the segment's spreading history, but also reveals important processes that localize hydrothermal venting. Geological mapping around two known hydrothermal vent sites on the Menez Gwen segment at 37°50′N on the slow-spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge showed that hydrothermal venting accompanies the tectonic break-up of a large, cooling magmatic body. Venting is focussed by faulting and resulting permeability changes. The large magmatic body is associated with an axial volcano that formed as a last stage of a period with intense magmatic accretion. Such magmatic accretion periods occur every 300 to 500 ka at the Menez Gwen segment, with increasing intensity over the past 3.5 Ma years. The most recent, most intense magmatic period appears to be a regional phenomenon, also affecting the neighbouring Lucky Strike and Rifted Hills segments. Understanding the accretional setting and the spatial and temporal constraints of hydrothermal venting enables us to develop criteria in MBES data to aid exploration for inactive SMS deposits.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Slow-spreading mid-ocean ridge, Hydrothermal venting, Multibeam echosounding, Geological mapping
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems > Marine Mineralische Rohstoffe
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.margeo.2019.03.012
ISSN: 0025-3227
Related URLs:
Projects: OASIS, MARE:N
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2019 08:28
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2019 12:41
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/46305

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