A multibeam-sonar, magnetic and geochemical flowline survey at 14°14′S on the southern East Pacific Rise: insights into the fourth dimension of ridge crest segmentation.

Grevemeyer, Ingo , Schramm, B., Devey, Colin W. , Jochum, B., Wilson, D. S., Hauschild, J., Aric, K., Villinger, H. and Weigel, W. (2002) A multibeam-sonar, magnetic and geochemical flowline survey at 14°14′S on the southern East Pacific Rise: insights into the fourth dimension of ridge crest segmentation. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 199 (3-4). pp. 359-372. DOI 10.1016/S0012-821X(02)00595-2.

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Abstract

A detailed bathymetric and magnetic survey of the eastern flank of the East Pacific Rise at 14°14′S covering seafloor ages of 0–10 Ma has been carried out and used, along with a flowline profile on the conjugate western ridge flank, to reveal the spreading history and the temporal ridge crest segmentation. Additional information from basaltic lavas is included to study the relationship between physical and magmatic segment boundaries. The sequence of magnetic reversals indicates a total spreading rate of 150 mm/yr since 10 Ma. Symmetric spreading, however, occurred only since 2.8 Ma. Between 7 and 2.8 Ma spreading was asymmetric, with a higher spreading rate toward the east. Migration events of at least five overlapping spreading centres (OSC) left discordant zones on the Nazca plate consisting of hummocky basins and motley texture of curved lineations striking a few degrees oblique to the strike of the ridge crest. Four of the OSCs were right-stepping and migrated northward and one was left-stepping and migrated southward. By transferring Pacific lithosphere to the Nazca plate, these migration events may account for most of the asymmetric accretion observed. The basaltic samples from the eastern flank have been analysed and back tracked to the position of eruption on the ridge crest. In terms of their geochemical signature (Mg# 0.41–0.68) the samples reveal that the magmatic segment boundary between the Garrett transform and 14°30′S has remained stationary over the last 10 Myr and therefore provide no evidence for a link between magmatic and physical segmentation. We therefore propose that migrating non-transform ridge axis discontinuities are governed by propagating giant cracks; as a crack front advances a melt reservoir is tapped and magma rises passively into the crack and erupts subsequently on the seafloor. Some of the OSCs seem to have originated close to transform faults and therefore argue that far-field stresses, perhaps caused by the evolution of the Bauer microplate, rather than mantle upwelling create non-transform ridge axis discontinuities.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: East Pacific Rise; mid-ocean ridges segmentation; bathymetry; reversals; major elements
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/S0012-821X(02)00595-2
ISSN: 0012-821X
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:25
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 10:42
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/6152

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