Mutter John C.

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Mutter
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John C.
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  • Article
    Recent advances in multichannel seismic imaging for academic research in deep oceanic environments
    (The Oceanography Society, 2012-03) Canales, J. Pablo ; Carton, Helene ; Mutter, John C. ; Harding, Alistair J. ; Carbotte, Suzanne M. ; Nedimovic, Mladen R.
    Academic research using marine multichannel seismic (MCS) methods to investigate processes related to Earth's oceanic crust has made substantial advances in the last decade. These advances were made possible by access to state-of-the-art MCS acquisition systems, and by development of data processing and modeling techniques that specifically deal with the particularities of oceanic crustal structure and the challenges of subseafloor imaging in the deep ocean. Among these methods, we highlight multistreamer three-dimensional (3D) imaging, streamer refraction tomography, synthetic ocean bottom experiments (SOBE), and time-lapse (4D) studies.
  • Preprint
    A multi-sill magma plumbing system beneath the axis of the East Pacific Rise
    ( 2014-09) Marjanovic, Milena ; Carbotte, Suzanne M. ; Carton, Helene ; Nedimovic, Mladen R. ; Mutter, John C. ; Canales, J. Pablo
    The mid-crust axial magma lens detected at fast and intermediate spreading mid-ocean ridges is believed to be the primary magma reservoir for formation of upper oceanic crust. However, the mechanism behind formation of the lower crust is a subject of ongoing debate. The sheeted sill model proposed from observations of ophiloites requires the presence of multiple lenses/sills throughout lower crust but only a single lens is imaged directly beneath the innermost axial zone in prior seismic studies . Here, high-fidelity seismic data from the East Pacific Rise reveal series of reflections below the axial magma lens that we interpret as mid-lower crustal lenses. These deeper lenses are present between 9°20-57′N at variable two-way-travel-times, up to 4.6 s (~1.5 km beneath the axial magma lens), providing direct support for the sheeted sill model. From local changes in the amplitude and geometry of the events beneath a zone of recent volcanic eruption, we infer that melt drained from a lower lens contributed to the replenishment of the axial magma lens above and, perhaps, the eruption. The new data indicate that a multi-level sill complex is present beneath the East Pacific Rise that likely contributes to the formation of both the upper and lower crust.
  • Article
    Variations in axial magma lens properties along the East Pacific Rise (9°30′N–10°00′N) from swath 3-D seismic imaging and 1-D waveform inversion
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-04-29) Xu, Min ; Canales, J. Pablo ; Carbotte, Suzanne M. ; Carton, Helene ; Nedimovic, Mladen R. ; Mutter, John C.
    We use three-dimensional multistreamer seismic reflection data to investigate variations in axial magma lens (AML) physical properties along the East Pacific Rise between 9°30′N and 10°00′N. Using partial-offset stacks of P- and S-converted waves reflecting off the top of the AML, we image four 2–4 km long melt-rich sections spaced 5–10 km from each other. One-dimensional waveform inversion indicates that the AML in a melt-rich section is best modeled with a low Vp (2.95–3.23 km/s) and Vs (0.3–1.5 km/s), indicating >70% melt fraction. In contrast, the AML in a melt-poor section requires higher Vp (4.52–4.82 km/s) and Vs (2.0–3.0 km/s), which indicates <40% melt fraction. The thicknesses of the AML are constrained to be 8–32 m and 8–120 m at the melt-rich and -poor sites, respectively. Based on the AML melt-mush segmentation imaged in the area around the 2005–2006 eruption, we infer that the main source of this eruption was a 5 km long section of the AML between 9°48′N and 51′N. The eruption drained most of the melt in this section of the AML, leaving behind a large fraction of connected crystals. We estimate that during the 2005–2006 eruption, a total magma volume of 9–83 × 106 m3 was extracted from the AML, with a maximum of 71 × 106 m3 left unerupted in the crust as dikes. From this, we conclude that an eruption of similar dimensions to the 2005–2006, one would be needed with a frequency of years to decades in order to sustain the long-term average seafloor spreading rate at this location.
  • Article
    Recent seismic studies at the East Pacific Rise 8°20'–10°10'N and Endeavour Segment : insights into mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal and magmatic processes
    (The Oceanography Society, 2012-03) Carbotte, Suzanne M. ; Canales, J. Pablo ; Nedimovic, Mladen R. ; Carton, Helene ; Mutter, John C.
    As part of the suite of multidisciplinary investigations undertaken by the Ridge 2000 Program, new multichannel seismic studies of crustal structure were conducted at the East Pacific Rise (EPR) 8°20'–10°10'N and Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. These studies provide important insights into magmatic systems and hydrothermal flow in these regions, with broader implications for fast- and intermediate-spreading mid-ocean ridges. A mid-crust magma body is imaged beneath Endeavour Segment underlying all known vent fields, suggesting that prior notions of a tectonically driven hydrothermal system at this site can be ruled out. There is evidence at both sites that the axial magma body is segmented on a similar 5–20 km length scale, with implications for the geometry of high-temperature axial hydrothermal flow and for lava geochemistry. The new data provide the first seismic reflection images of magma sills in the crust away from the axial melt lens. These off-axis magma reservoirs are the likely source of more-evolved lavas typically sampled on the ridge flanks and may be associated with off-axis hydrothermal venting, which has recently been discovered within the EPR site. Clusters of seismic reflection events at the base of the crust are observed, and localized regions of thick Moho Transition Zone, with frozen or partially molten gabbro lenses embedded within mantle rocks, are inferred. Studies of the upper crust on the flanks of Endeavour Segment provide new insights into the low-temperature hydrothermal flow that continues long after crustal formation. Precipitation of alteration minerals due to fluid flow leads to changes in P-wave velocities within seismic Layer 2A (the uppermost layer of the oceanic crust) that vary markedly with extent of sediment blanketing the crust. In addition, intermediate-scale variations in the structure of Layers 2A and 2B with local topography are observed that may result from topographically driven fluid upflow and downflow on the ridge flanks.
  • Article
    Crustal thickness and Moho character of the fast-spreading East Pacific Rise from 9°42′N to 9°57′N from poststack-migrated 3-D MCS data
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-03-18) Aghaei, Omid ; Nedimovic, Mladen R. ; Carton, Helene ; Carbotte, Suzanne M. ; Canales, J. Pablo ; Mutter, John C.
    We computed crustal thickness (5740 ± 270 m) and mapped Moho reflection character using 3-D seismic data covering 658 km2 of the fast-spreading East Pacific Rise (EPR) from 9°42′N to 9°57′N. Moho reflections are imaged within ∼87% of the study area. Average crustal thickness varies little between large sections of the study area suggesting regionally uniform crustal production in the last ∼180 Ka. However, individual crustal thickness measurements differ by as much as 1.75 km indicating that the mantle melt delivery has not been uniform. Third-order, but not fourth-order ridge discontinuities are associated with changes in the Moho reflection character and/or near-axis crustal thickness. This suggests that the third-order segmentation is governed by melt distribution processes within the uppermost mantle while the fourth-order ridge segmentation arises from midcrustal to upper-crustal processes. In this light, we assign fourth-order ridge discontinuity status to the debated ridge segment boundary at ∼9°45′N and third-order status at ∼9°51.5′N to the ridge segment boundary previously interpreted as a fourth-order discontinuity. Our seismic results also suggest that the mechanism of lower-crustal accretion varies along the investigated section of the EPR but that the volume of melt delivered to the crust is mostly uniform. More efficient mantle melt extraction is inferred within the southern half of our survey area with greater proportion of the lower crust accreted from the axial magma lens than that for the northern half. This south-to-north variation in the crustal accretion style may be caused by interaction between the melt sources for the ridge and the Lamont seamounts.
  • Article
    Distribution of melt along the East Pacific Rise from 9°30′ to 10°N from an amplitude variation with angle of incidence (AVA) technique
    (Oxford University Press, 2015-06) Marjanovic, Milena ; Carton, Helene ; Carbotte, Suzanne M. ; Nedimovic, Mladen R. ; Mutter, John C. ; Canales, J. Pablo
    We examine along-axis variations in melt content of the axial magma lens (AML) beneath the fast-spreading East Pacific Rise (EPR) using an amplitude variation with angle of incidence (AVA) crossplotting method applied to multichannel seismic data acquired in 2008. The AVA crossplotting method, which has been developed for and, so far, applied for hydrocarbon prospection in sediments, is for the first time applied to a hardrock environment. We focus our analysis on 2-D data collected along the EPR axis from 9°29.8′N to 9°58.4′N, a region which encompasses the sites of two well-documented submarine volcanic eruptions (1991–1992 and 2005–2006). AVA crossplotting is performed for a ∼53 km length of the EPR spanning nine individual AML segments (ranging in length from ∼3.2 to 8.5 km) previously identified from the geometry of the AML and disruptions in continuity. Our detailed analyses conducted at 62.5 m interval show that within most of the analysed segments melt content varies at spatial scales much smaller (a few hundred of metres) than the length of the fine-scale AML segments, suggesting high heterogeneity in melt concentration. At the time of our survey, about 2 yr after the eruption, our results indicate that the three AML segments that directly underlie the 2005–2006 lava flow are on average mostly molten. However, detailed analysis at finer-scale intervals for these three segments reveals AML pockets (from >62.5 to 812.5 m long) with a low melt fraction. The longest such mushy section is centred beneath the main eruption site at ∼9°50.4′N, possibly reflecting a region of primary melt drainage during the 2005–2006 event. The complex geometry of fluid flow pathways within the crust above the AML and the different response times of fluid flow and venting to eruption and magma reservoir replenishment may contribute to the poor spatial correlation between incidence of hydrothermal vents and presence of highly molten AML. The presented results are an important step forward in our ability to resolve small-scale characteristics of the AML and recommend the AVA crossplotting as a tool for examining mid-ocean ridge magma-systems elsewhere.
  • Article
    Crustal magmatic system beneath the east pacific rise (8 degrees 20 to 10 degrees 10N): Implications for tectonomagmatic segmentation and crustal melt transport at fast-spreading ridges
    (American Geophysical Union, 2018-11-06) Marjanovic, Milena ; Carbotte, Suzanne M. ; Carton, Helene ; Nedimovic, Mladen R. ; Canales, J. Pablo ; Mutter, John C.
    Detailed images of the midcrustal magmatic system beneath the East Pacific Rise (8°20′–10°10′N) are obtained from 2‐D and 3‐D‐swath processing of along axis seismic data and are used to characterize properties of the axial crust, cross‐axis variations, and relationships with structural segmentation of the axial zone. Axial magma lens (AML) reflections are imaged beneath much of the ridge axis (mean depth 1,640 ± 185 m), as are deeper sub‐AML (SAML) reflections (brightest events ~100–800 m below AML). Local shallow regions in the AML underlie two regions of shallow seafloor depth from 9°40′–55′N and 8°26′–33′N. Enhanced magma replenishment at present beneath both sites is inferred and may be linked to nearby off‐axis volcanic chains. SAML reflections, which are observed primarily from 9°20′ to 10°05′N, indicate a finely segmented magma reservoir similar to the AML above, composed of subhorizontal, 2‐ to 7 km‐long AML segments, often with stepwise changes in reflector depth from one segment to the next. We infer that these melt bodies are related to short‐lived melt instability zones. In many locations including where seismic constraints are strongest the intermediate scale (~15–40 km) structural segmentation of the ridge axis identified in this region coincides with (1) changes in average thickness of layer 2A (by 10%–15%), (2) changes in average depth of AML (<100 m), and (3) with the spacing of punctuated low velocity zones mapped in the uppermost mantle. The ~6 km dominant length of multiple AML segments within each of the larger structural segments may reflect the spacing of local sites of ascending magma from discrete melt reservoirs pooled beneath the crust.