Dunn Robert A.

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Dunn
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Robert A.
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  • Preprint
    Seismic imaging of magma sills beneath an ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal system
    ( 2017-01) Canales, J. Pablo ; Dunn, Robert A. ; Arai, Ryuta ; Sohn, Robert A.
    Hydrothermal circulation at mid-ocean ridge volcanic segments extracts heat from crustal magma bodies. However, the heat source driving hydrothermal circulation in ultramafic outcrops, where mantle rocks are exhumed in low-magma-supply environments, has remained enigmatic. Here we use a three-dimensional P-wave velocity model derived from active-source wide-angle refraction-reflection ocean bottom seismometer data and pre-stack depth-migrated images derived from multichannel seismic reflection data to investigate the internal structure of the Rainbow ultramafic massif, which is located in a non-transform discontinuity of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Seismic imaging reveals that the ultramafic rocks composing the Rainbow massif have been intruded by a large number of magmatic sills, distributed throughout the massif at depths of ∼2–10 km. These sills, which appear to be at varying stages of crystallization, can supply the heat needed to drive high-temperature hydrothermal circulation, and thus provide an explanation for the hydrothermal discharge observed in this ultramafic setting. Our results demonstrate that high-temperature hydrothermal systems can be driven by heat from deep-sourced magma even in exhumed ultramafic lithosphere with very low magma supply.
  • Article
    Three-dimensional seismic structure of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge : an investigation of tectonic, magmatic, and hydrothermal processes in the Rainbow Area
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-12-29) Dunn, Robert A. ; Arai, Ryuta ; Eason, Deborah E. ; Canales, J. Pablo ; Sohn, Robert A.
    To test models of tectonic, magmatic, and hydrothermal processes along slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges, we analyzed seismic refraction data from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge INtegrated Experiments at Rainbow (MARINER) seismic and geophysical mapping experiment. Centered at the Rainbow area of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (36°14'N), this study examines a section of ridge with volcanically active segments and a relatively amagmatic ridge offset that hosts the ultramafic Rainbow massif and its high-temperature hydrothermal vent field. Tomographic images of the crust and upper mantle show segment-scale variations in crustal structure, thickness, and the crust-mantle transition, which forms a vertical gradient rather than a sharp boundary. There is little definitive evidence for large regions of sustained high temperatures and melt in the lower crust or upper mantle along the ridge axes, suggesting that melts rising from the mantle intrude as small intermittent magma bodies at crustal and subcrustal levels. The images reveal large rotated crustal blocks, which extend to mantle depths in some places, corresponding to off-axis normal fault locations. Low velocities cap the Rainbow massif, suggesting an extensive near-surface alteration zone due to low-temperature fluid-rock reactions. Within the interior of the massif, seismic images suggest a mixture of peridotite and gabbroic intrusions, with little serpentinization. Here diffuse microearthquake activity indicates a brittle deformation regime supporting a broad network of cracks. Beneath the Rainbow hydrothermal vent field, fluid circulation is largely driven by the heat of small cooling melt bodies intruded into the base of the massif and channeled by the crack network and shallow faults.