Focused volcanism and growth of a slow spreading segment (Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 35 degrees N) | INSTITUT DE PHYSIQUE DU GLOBE DE PARIS


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  Focused volcanism and growth of a slow spreading segment (Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 35 degrees N)

Publication Type:

Journal Article


{EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS}, Volume {185}, Number {1-2}, p.{211-224} (0)


{Using off axis bathymetry, gravity and magnetic data, we studied the formation of a prominent seamount chain across segment OH1 (Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 35 degreesN), and its relation to the past segmentation of the area. We also studied the size and shape of the seamounts to understand the processes leading to their formation. The chain is elongated in the spreading direction, and extends from the present day segment center to similar to6 Ma on both flanks. It coincides with a pronounced low in the residual mantle Bouguer gravity anomaly, suggesting thicker crust and thus more abundant magmatism than in surrounding areas. Magnetic anomalies are well defined over the seamount chain, consistent with formation on or near the axis. The seamounts within the chain are larger on average than those from other areas of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, reflecting higher magma volumes and fluxes during eruptions. The distribution of seamounts suggests a focused magmatic source, located beneath the eastern side of the ridge axis, at a constant distance (similar to 45 km) from the Oceanographer transform fault. A V-shaped trend defines the southern end of OH1 and indicates that the segment propagated rapidly southwards, increasing in length from 50 to 90 km. The onset of propagation at similar to 6 Ma coincided with the initiation of the volcanic chain, suggesting that magma supply at that rime was focused at the end of the segment rather than at its center,as is typical for Mid-Atlantic Ridge segments. We propose that this unusual configuration is a consequence of the cold edge effect of the Oceanographer fracture zone. We also propose that enhanced and focused magmatism beneath the seamount chain may have caused the rapid southward propagation of OH1 over the past similar to6 Ma. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.}