Mechanical decoupling and thermal structure at the East Pacific Rise axis 9 degrees N: Constraints from axial magma chamber geometry and seafloor structures | INSTITUT DE PHYSIQUE DU GLOBE DE PARIS

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  Mechanical decoupling and thermal structure at the East Pacific Rise axis 9 degrees N: Constraints from axial magma chamber geometry and seafloor structures

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

{EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS}, Volume {272}, Number {1-2}, p.{19-28} (0)

Abstract:

{We study the relationships between the seafloor structures and the axial magma chamber geometry in the 9 degrees N overlapping spreading center (OSC) area on the fast spreading East Pacific Rise (EPR). Our observations are based on a new high resolution bathymetric map of the 9 degrees N OSC area derived from picks of the seafloor arrival on 3D seismic data, and on previously published data that constrain the presence and distribution of melt below the 9 degrees N OSC. Differences in the orientation of structures between the seafloor and the magma chamber indicate a sharp change in principal stress directions with depth, Suggesting that the brittle crust above the melt sill is decoupled from the melt sill itself and the ductile crust underlying it. The stress-field within the brittle upper crust results from a local interaction of the two overlapping spreading centers, whereas the stress-field in the crust below the melt sill corresponds to the regional stress-field imposed by plate separation. Given this mechanical structure of the crust, the melt sill shape and location appear to be controlled by the following factors: the location of the deep melt source below the melt sill, the ambient stress-field at the depth of the melt sill, and the stress-field in the brittle upper crust above the melt sill, which thermally shapes the roof of the melt sill through repeated eruptions. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.}