Sensitivity of seafloor bathymetry to climate-driven fluctuations in mid-ocean ridge magma supply
Olive, Jean-Arthur L.
Behn, Mark D.
Ito, Garrett T.
Buck, W. Roger
Escartin, Javier E.
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Recent studies have proposed that the bathymetric fabric of the seafloor formed at mid-ocean ridges records rapid (23–100 kyr) fluctuations in ridge magma supply caused by sea level changes that modulate melt production in the underlying mantle. Using quantitative models of faulting and magma emplacement, we demonstrate that, in fact, seafloor-shaping processes act as a low-pass filter on variations in magma supply, strongly damping fluctuations shorter than ~100 kyr. We show that the systematic decrease in dominant seafloor wavelengths with increasing spreading rate is best explained by a model of fault growth and abandonment under a steady magma input. This provides a robust framework for deciphering the footprint of mantle melting in the fabric of abyssal hills, the most common topographic feature on Earth.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2015. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of American Association for the Advancement of Science for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science 350 (2015): 6258, doi:10.1126/science.aad0715.