Thin crust as evidence for an inherited mantle depletion supporting the Marion Rise
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The global ridge system is dominated by oceanic rises reflecting large variations in axial depth associated with mantle hotspots. The little studied Marion Rise is as large as the Icelandic, considering length and depth, but has an axial rift rather than a high nearly its entire length. Uniquely, along the SW Indian Ridge systematic sampling allows direct examination of crustal architecture over its full length. Unlike Iceland, peridotites are extensively exposed high over the rise. This shows for the 1st time that the crust is generally thin, and often missing over a rifted rise. Thus the rise must be largely an isostatic response to ancient melting events that created low-density depleted mantle beneath the ridge rather than thickened crust and/or a large thermal anomaly. The likely origin for the depleted mantle is that emplaced into the African asthenosphere during the Karoo and Madagascar flood basalt events.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2012. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Nature Publishing Group for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Nature 494 (2013): 195-200, doi:10.1038/nature11842.