Blacic Tanya M.
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ArticleConstructing the crust along the Galapagos Spreading Center 91.3°–95.5°W : correlation of seismic layer 2A with axial magma lens and topographic characteristics(American Geophysical Union, 2004-10-21) Blacic, Tanya M. ; Ito, Garrett T. ; Canales, J. Pablo ; Detrick, Robert S. ; Sinton, John M.Multichannel seismic reflection data are used to infer crustal accretion processes along the intermediate spreading Galapagos Spreading Center. East of 92.5°W, we image a magma lens beneath the ridge axis that is relatively shallow (1.0–2.5 km below the seafloor) and narrow (∼0.5–1.5 km, cross-axis width). We also image a thin seismic layer 2A (0.24–0.42 km) that thickens away from the ridge axis by as much as 150%. West of 92.7°W, the magma lens is deeper (2.5–4.5 km) and wider (0.7–2.4 km), and layer 2A is thicker (0.36–0.66 km) and thickens off axis by <40%. The positive correlation between layer 2A thickness and magma lens depth supports the interpretation of layer 2A as the extrusive volcanic layer with thickness controlled by the pressure on the magma lens and its ability to push magma to the surface. Our findings also suggest that narrower magma lenses focus diking close the ridge axis such that lava flowing away from the ridge axis will blanket older flows and thicken the extrusive crust off axis. Flow of lava away from the ridge axis is probably promoted by the slope of the axial bathymetric high, which is largest east of 92.5°W. West of ∼94°W the “transitional” axial morphology lacks a prominent bathymetric high and layer 2A no longer thickens off axis. We detect no magma lens west of 94.7°W where a small axial valley appears. The above changes can be linked to the westward decrease in the magma and heat flux associated with the fading influence of the Galapagos hot spot on the Galapagos Spreading Center.
ArticleAxial high topography and partial melt in the crust and mantle beneath the western Galapagos Spreading Center(American Geophysical Union, 2008-12-04) Blacic, Tanya M. ; Ito, Garrett T. ; Shah, Anjana K. ; Canales, J. Pablo ; Lin, JianThe hot spot-influenced western Galápagos Spreading Center (GSC) has an axial topographic high that reaches heights of ∼700 m relative to seafloor depth ∼25 km from the axis. We investigate the cause of the unusual size of the axial high using a model that determines the flexural response to loads resulting from the thermal and magmatic structure of the lithosphere. The thermal structure simulated is appropriate for large amounts of cooling by hydrothermal circulation, which tends to minimize the amount of partial melt needed to explain the axial topography. Nonetheless, results reveal that the large axial high near 92°W requires that either the crust below the magma lens contains >35% partial melt or that 20% melt is present in the lower crust and at least 3% in the mantle within a narrow column (<∼10 km wide) extending to depths of 45–65 km. Because melt fractions >35% in the crust are considered unreasonable, it is likely that much of the axial high region of the GSC is underlain by a narrow region of partially molten mantle of widths approaching those imaged seismically beneath the East Pacific Rise. A narrow zone of mantle upwelling and melting, driven largely by melt buoyancy, is a plausible explanation.