Splitting a continent : insights from submarine high resolution mapping of the Moresby Seamount detachment, offshore Papua New Guinea .

Speckbacher, Romed, Behrmann, Jan H. , Nagel, Thorsten J., Stipp, Michael and Devey, Colin W. (2011) Splitting a continent : insights from submarine high resolution mapping of the Moresby Seamount detachment, offshore Papua New Guinea . Geology, 39 (7). pp. 651-654. DOI 10.1130/G31931.1.

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Abstract

The Moresby Seamount detachment in the Woodlark Basin (east of Papua New Guinea) is arguably the best exposed active detachment fault in the world. We present the results of a high-resolution autonomous underwater vehicle survey of bathymetry, bottom water temperature, and turbidity. In combination with dredging and existing drillhole data, a synthesis of the tectonic geomorphology, kinematics, and mechanics of the detachment is provided. The detachment surface, which has a 30° northward dip and ∼8 km post-Pliocene displacement, is well preserved. Two major smooth areas are tectonically created, and megascopic (kilometer scale) slickensides indicate downdip direction of movement. The detachment is transected by a major sinistral strike-slip fault, suggesting deformation partitioning in the detachment zone in response to the 500 k.y. change in plate kinematics. The mainly gabbroic protoliths and cataclasites from the fault show pervasive syntectonic alteration, leading to large increases in abundance of quartz and, more important, calcite. Resulting quartz-rich and calcite-rich mylonites play a crucial role, as weak fault rocks and ductile microstructures point to detachment operation at low differential stress. A kilometer-sized anomaly in bottom water temperature and turbidity is found at the downdip end of the detachment zone, indicating that it hosts an active hydrothermal system, probably fed by overpressured fluids from a deep crustal source.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Geodynamics; Moresby Seamount detachment, Woodlark Basin, rifting, detachment fault, tectonic geomorphology, submarine mapping, AUV ABYSS
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1130/G31931.1
ISSN: 0091-7613
Related URLs:
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2010 10:45
Last Modified: 18 May 2017 12:46
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/10525

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