Dunn Robert A.

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Robert A.

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  • 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.
  • Article
    Segment-scale variations in seafloor volcanic and tectonic processes from multibeam sonar imaging, Mid-Atlantic Ridge Rainbow region (35°45′–36°35′N)
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-09-07) Eason, Deborah E. ; Dunn, Robert A. ; Canales, J. Pablo ; Sohn, Robert A.
    Along-axis variations in melt supply and thermal structure can lead to significant variations in the mode of crustal accretion at mid-ocean ridges. We examine variations in seafloor volcanic and tectonic processes on the scale of individual ridge segments in a region of the slow spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge (35°45′–36°35′N) centered on the Rainbow nontransform discontinuity (NTD). We use multibeam sonar backscatter amplitude data, taking advantage of multifold and multidirectional coverage from the MARINER geophysical study to create a gridded compilation of seafloor reflectivity, and interpret the sonar image within the context of other data to examine seafloor properties and identify volcanic flow fields and tectonic features. Along the spreading segments, differences in volcanic productivity, faulting, eruption style, and frequency correlate with inferred magma supply. Regions of low magma supply are associated with more widely spaced faults, and larger volcanic flow fields that are more easily identified in the backscatter image. Identified flow fields with the highest backscatter occur near the ends of ridge segments. Their relatively smooth topography contrasts with the more hummocky, cone-dominated terrain that dominates most of the neovolcanic zone. Patches of seafloor with high, moderately high, and low backscatter intensity across the Rainbow massif are spatially correlated with observations of basalt, gabbro and serpentinized peridotite, and sediment, respectively. Large detachment faults have repeatedly formed along the inside corners of the Rainbow NTD, producing a series of oceanic core complexes along the wake of the NTD. A new detachment fault is currently forming in the ridge segment just north of the now inactive Rainbow massif.