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In-situ crustal accretion by melt sill injection revealed by seismic layering in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean


IPGP - Îlot Cuvier


Séminaires Géosciences Marines

Zoom seminar

Peng Guo

CSIRO, Australia

Oceanic crust is formed at mid-ocean spreading centres by a combination of magmatic, tectonic and hydrothermal processes. Although the formation and evolution of the upper crust are well known from geophysical and drilling results, those for the lower crust remain a matter of debate. Using a full waveform inversion method applied to wide-angle seismic data, here we report the presence of layering in the lower oceanic crust formed at the slow spreading equatorial Atlantic Ocean, ~7-12 Ma in age, revealing that the lower crust is formed mainly by in situ cooling and crystallisation of melt sills at different depths by the injection of magma from the mantle. These layers are 400-600 m thick with alternate high and low velocities, with ± 100-200 m/s velocity variation, and cover over a million-year old crust, suggesting that the crustal accretion by melt sill intrusions beneath the ridge axis is a stable process. We also find that the upper crust is ~400 m thinner than that from conventional travel-time analysis. Taken together, these discoveries suggest that the magmatism plays more important roles in the crustal accretion process at slow spreading ridges than previously realised, and that in-situ lower crustal accretion is the main process for the formation of lower oceanic crust. Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 914 8946 1781 Passcode: Geo2021