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ArticleSpatial and temporal variations in crustal production at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 25°N–27°30′N and 0–27 Ma(John Wiley & Sons, 2015-04-21) Wang, Tingting ; Tucholke, Brian E. ; Lin, JianWe use high-resolution multibeam bathymetry, shipboard gravity, side-scan sonar images, and magnetic anomaly data collected on conjugate flanks of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 25°N–27°30′N and out to ~27 Ma crust to investigate the crustal evolution of the ridge. Substantial variations in crustal structure and thickness are observed both along and across isochrons. Along isochrons within spreading segments, there are distinct differences in seafloor morphology and gravity-derived crustal thickness between inside and outside corners. Inside corners are associated with shallow depths, thin crust, and enhanced normal faulting while outside corners have greater depths, thicker crust, and more limited faulting. Across-isochrons, systematic variations in crustal thickness are observed at two different timescales, one at ~2–3 Myr and another at >10 Myr, and these are attributed to temporal changes in melt supply at the ridge axis. The shorter-term variations mostly are in-phase between conjugate ridge flanks, although the actual crustal thickness can be significantly different on the two flanks at any given time. We observe no correlation between crustal thickness and spreading rate. Thus, during periods of low melt supply, tectonic extension must increase to accommodate the full plate separation rate. This extension commonly is concentrated in long-lived faults on only one side of the axial valley, resulting in strong across-axis asymmetries in crustal thickness and seafloor morphology. The thin-crust flank has few volcanic features and exhibits elevated, blocky topography with large-offset, often irregular faults, while the conjugate thicker-crust flank shows shorter-offset, regular faulting, and common volcanic features. The variations in melt supply at the ridge axis most likely are caused either by episodic convection in the subaxial mantle or by variable melting of chemically heterogeneous mantle.
ArticleCrustal thickness anomalies in the North Atlantic Ocean basin from gravity analysis(American Geophysical Union and the Geochemical Society, 2011-03-31) Wang, Tingting ; Lin, Jian ; Tucholke, Brian E. ; Chen, Yongshun J.Gravity-derived crustal thickness models were calculated for the North Atlantic Ocean between 76°N and the Chain Fracture Zone and calibrated using seismically determined crustal thickness. About 7% of the ocean crust is <4 km thick (designated as thin crust), and 58% is 4–7 km thick (normal crust); the remaining 35% is >7 km thick and is interpreted to have been affected by excess magmatism. Thin crust probably reflects reduced melt production from relatively cold or refractory mantle at scales of up to hundreds of kilometers along the spreading axis. By far the most prominent thick crust anomaly is associated with Iceland and adjacent areas, which accounts for 57% of total crustal volume in excess of 7 km. Much smaller anomalies include the Azores (8%), Cape Verde Islands (6%), Canary Islands (5%), Madeira (<4%), and New England–Great Meteor Seamount chain (2%), all of which appear to be associated with hot spots. Hot spot–related crustal thickening is largely intermittent, suggesting that melt production is episodic on time scales of tens of millions of years. Thickened crust shows both symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) axis, reflecting whether melt anomalies were or were not centered on the MAR axis, respectively. Thickened crust at the Bermuda and Cape Verde rises appears to have been formed by isolated melt anomalies over periods of only ∼20–25 Myr. Crustal thickness anomalies on the African plate generally are larger than those on the North American plate; this most likely results from slower absolute plate speed of the African plate over relatively fixed hot spots.
ArticleThermal evolution of the North Atlantic lithosphere : new constraints from magnetic anomaly inversion with a fractal magnetization model(John Wiley & Sons, 2013-12-11) Li, Chun-Feng ; Wang, Jian ; Lin, Jian ; Wang, TingtingUsing recently published global magnetic models, we present the first independent constraint on North Atlantic geothermal state and mantle dynamics from magnetic anomaly inversion with a fractal magnetization model. Two theoretical models of radial amplitude spectrum of magnetic anomalies are found almost identical, and both are applicable to detecting Curie depths in using the centroid method based on spectral linearization at certain wave number bands. Theoretical and numerical studies confirm the robustness of this inversion scheme. A fractal exponent of 3.0 in the magnetic susceptibility is found suitable, and Curie depths are well constrained by their known depths near the mid-Atlantic ridge. While generally increasing with growing ages, North Atlantic Curie depths show large oscillating and heterogeneous patterns related most likely to small-scale sublithospheric convections, which are found to have an onset time around 40 Ma and a scale of about 500 km, and are in preferred transverse rolls. Hotspots in North Atlantic also contribute to large geothermal and Curie-depth variations, but they appear to connect more closely to geochemical anomalies or small-scale convection than to mantle plumes. Curie depths can be correlated to heat flow gridded in a constant 1° interval, which reveals decreasing effective thermal conductivity with depths within the magnetic layer. North Atlantic Curie points are mostly beneath the Moho, suggesting that the uppermost mantle is magnetized from serpentinization and induces long-wavelength magnetic anomalies. Small-scale convection and serpentinization together may cause apparent flattening and deviations in heat flow and bathymetry from theoretical cooling models in old oceanic lithosphere.