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  • Article
    Azimuthal seismic anisotropy of 70-ma Pacific-plate upper mantle.
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-01-28) Mark, Hannah ; Lizarralde, Daniel ; Collins, John ; Miller, Nathaniel C. ; Hirth, Greg ; Gaherty, James B. ; Evans, Rob L.
    Plate formation and evolution processes are predicted to generate upper mantle seismic anisotropy and negative vertical velocity gradients in oceanic lithosphere. However, predictions for upper mantle seismic velocity structure do not fully agree with the results of seismic experiments. The strength of anisotropy observed in the upper mantle varies widely. Further, many refraction studies observe a fast direction of anisotropy rotated several degrees with respect to the paleospreading direction, suggesting that upper mantle anisotropy records processes other than 2‐D corner flow and plate‐driven shear near mid‐ocean ridges. We measure 6.0 ± 0.3% anisotropy at the Moho in 70‐Ma lithosphere in the central Pacific with a fast direction parallel to paleospreading, consistent with mineral alignment by 2‐D mantle flow near a mid‐ocean ridge. We also find an increase in the strength of anisotropy with depth, with vertical velocity gradients estimated at 0.02 km/s/km in the fast direction and 0 km/s/km in the slow direction. The increase in anisotropy with depth can be explained by mechanisms for producing anisotropy other than intrinsic effects from mineral fabric, such as aligned cracks or other structures. This measurement of seismic anisotropy and gradients reflects the effects of both plate formation and evolution processes on seismic velocity structure in mature oceanic lithosphere, and can serve as a reference for future studies to investigate the processes involved in lithospheric formation and evolution.
  • Preprint
    Geophysical evidence from the MELT area for compositional controls on oceanic plates
    ( 2005-06-29) Evans, Rob L. ; Hirth, Greg ; Baba, Kiyoshi ; Forsyth, Donald W. ; Chave, Alan D. ; Mackie, Randall L.
    Magnetotelluric (MT) and seismic data, collected during the MELT experiment at the Southern East Pacific Rise (SEPR) constrain the distribution of melt beneath this mid-ocean-ridge spreading center and also the evolution of the oceanic lithosphere during its early cooling history. In this paper, we focus on structure imaged at distances ~100 to 350 km east of the ridge crest, corresponding to seafloor ages of ~1.3 to 4.5 Ma, where the seismic and electrical conductivity structure is nearly constant, independent of age. Beginning at a depth of about 60 km, there is a large increase in electrical conductivity and a change from isotropic to transversely anisotropic electrical structure with higher conductivity in the direction of fast propagation for seismic waves. Because conductive cooling models predict structure that increases in depth with age, extending to about 30 km at 4.5 Ma, we infer that the structure of young oceanic plates is instead controlled by a decrease in water content above 60 km induced by the melting process beneath the spreading center.
  • Article
    Plagioclase preferred orientation in layered mylonites : evaluation of flow laws for the lower crust
    (American Geophysical Union, 2008-05-07) Mehl, Luc ; Hirth, Greg
    We evaluate the applicability of plagioclase and gabbro flow laws by comparing predicted and observed deformation mechanisms in gabbroic shear zones. Gabbros and layered gabbro mylonites were collected from the Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR), Ocean Drilling Program Hole 735B. Deformation temperatures are constrained by two-pyroxene thermometry, stress is estimated from grain size, and deformation mechanisms are analyzed by microstructure and the presence or absence of a lattice preferred orientation (LPO). Our analyses indicate that mylonite layers deformed at a strain rate in the range of 10−12 to 10−11 s−1, while coarse-grained gabbro deformed at a strain rate of approximately 10−14 to 10−13 s−1. Plagioclase in pure plagioclase mylonite layers exhibit strong LPOs indicating that they deformed by dislocation creep. Plagioclase grain size in mixed plagioclase-pyroxene mylonite layers is finer than in pure plagioclase layers and depends on the size and proportion of pyroxenes. Progressive mixing of pyroxene and plagioclase within gabbro mylonite layers is accompanied by weakening of the LPO, indicating that phase mixing promotes a transition to diffusion creep processes that involve grain boundary sliding. Our results indicate that experimental flow laws are accurate at geologic strain rates, although the strain rate for diffusion creep of fine-grained gabbro may be underestimated. At the conditions estimated for the SWIR crust, our calculations suggest that strain localization leads to a factor of 2–4 decrease in lower crustal viscosity. Away from shear zones, the viscosity of lower gabbroic crust is predicted to be similar to that of dry upper mantle.
  • Article
    Newtonian versus non-Newtonian upper mantle viscosity : implications for subduction initiation
    (American Geophysical Union, 2005-10-08) Billen, Magali I. ; Hirth, Greg
    The effect of rheology on the evolution of the slab-tip during subduction initiation is analyzed using 2-D numerical flow models. Experimentally determined flow laws have both strong temperature- and stress-dependence, which leads to large local variations in viscosity with direct consequences for subduction initiation. We find that models with Newtonian viscosity lead to flat or coupled subduction due to hydrodynamic stresses that pull the slab-tip up towards the overriding plate. Non-Newtonian rheology reduces these hydrodynamic stresses by decreasing the wedge viscosity and the slab coupling to wedge-corner flow, rendering the small negative-slab buoyancy of the slab-tip sufficient to maintain its dip during the early stages of subduction.
  • Article
    Olivine friction at the base of oceanic seismogenic zones
    (American Geophysical Union, 2007-01-31) Boettcher, Margaret S. ; Hirth, Greg ; Evans, Brian
    We investigate the strength and frictional behavior of olivine aggregates at temperatures and effective confining pressures similar to those at the base of the seismogenic zone on a typical ridge transform fault. Triaxial compression tests were conducted on dry olivine powder (grain size ≤ 60 μm) at effective confining pressures between 50 and 300 MPa (using Argon as a pore fluid), temperatures between 600°C and 1000°C, and axial displacement rates from 0.06 to 60 μm/s (axial strain rates from 3 × 10−6 to 3 × 10−3 s−1). Yielding shows a negative pressure dependence, consistent with predictions for shear enhanced compaction and with the observation that samples exhibit compaction during the initial stages of the experiments. A combination of mechanical data and microstructural observations demonstrate that deformation was accommodated by frictional processes. Sample strengths were pressure-dependent and nearly independent of temperature. Localized shear zones formed in initially homogeneous aggregates early in the experiments. The frictional response to changes in loading rate is well described by rate and state constitutive laws, with a transition from velocity-weakening to velocitystrengthening at 1000°C. Microstructural observations and physical models indicate that plastic yielding of asperities at high temperatures and low axial strain rates stabilizes frictional sliding. Extrapolation of our experimental data to geologic strain rates indicates that a transition from velocity weakening to velocity strengthening occurs at approximately 600°C, consistent with the focal depths of earthquakes in the oceanic lithosphere.
  • Article
    Rheologic controls on slab dynamics
    (American Geophysical Union, 2007-08-28) Billen, Magali I. ; Hirth, Greg
    Several models have been proposed to relate slab geometry to parameters such as plate velocity or plate age. However, studies on the observed relationships between slab geometry and a wide range of subduction parameters show that there is not a simple global relationship between slab geometry and any one of these other subduction parameters for all subduction zones. Numerical and laboratory models of subduction provide a method to explore the relative importance of different physical processes in determining subduction dynamics. Employing 2-D numerical models with a viscosity structure constrained by laboratory experiments for the deformation of olivine, we show that the observed range in slab dip and the observed trends between slab dip and convergence velocity, subducting plate age, and subduction duration can be reproduced without trench motion (i.e., slab roll-back) for locations away from slab edges. Successful models include a stiff slab that is 100–1000 times more viscous than previous estimates from models of plate bending, the geoid, and global plate motions. We find that slab dip in the upper mantle depends primarily on slab strength and plate boundary coupling, with a small dependence on subducting plate age. Once the slab sinks into the lower mantle the primary processes controlling slab evolution are (1) the ability of the stiff slab to transmit stresses up dip, (2) resistance to slab descent into the higher-viscosity lower mantle, and (3) subduction-induced flow in the mantle-wedge corner.
  • Article
    Seismological evidence for girdled olivine lattice‐preferred orientation in oceanic lithosphere and implications for mantle deformation processes during seafloor spreading
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-10-03) Russell, Joshua B. ; Gaherty, James B. ; Mark, Hannah F. ; Hirth, Greg ; Hansen, Lars N. ; Lizarralde, Daniel ; Collins, John A. ; Evans, Rob L.
    Seismic anisotropy produced by aligned olivine in oceanic lithosphere offers a window into mid‐ocean ridge (MOR) dynamics. Yet, interpreting anisotropy in the context of grain‐scale deformation processes and strain observed in laboratory experiments and natural olivine samples has proven challenging due to incomplete seismological constraints and length scale differences spanning orders of magnitude. To bridge this observational gap, we estimate an in situ elastic tensor for oceanic lithosphere using co‐located compressional‐ and shear‐wavespeed anisotropy observations at the NoMelt experiment located on ∼70 Ma seafloor. The elastic model for the upper 7 km of the mantle, NoMelt_SPani7, is characterized by a fast azimuth parallel to the fossil‐spreading direction, consistent with corner‐flow deformation fabric. We compare this model with a database of 123 petrofabrics from the literature to infer olivine crystallographic orientations and shear strain accumulated within the lithosphere. Direct comparison to olivine deformation experiments indicates strain accumulation of 250%–400% in the shallow mantle. We find evidence for D‐type olivine lattice‐preferred orientation (LPO) with fast [100] parallel to the shear direction and girdled [010] and [001] crystallographic axes perpendicular to shear. D‐type LPO implies similar amounts of slip on the (010)[100] and (001)[100] easy slip systems during MOR spreading; we hypothesize that grain‐boundary sliding during dislocation creep relaxes strain compatibility, allowing D‐type LPO to develop in the shallow lithosphere. Deformation dominated by dislocation‐accommodated grain‐boundary sliding (disGBS) has implications for in situ stress and grain size during MOR spreading and implies grain‐size dependent deformation, in contrast to pure dislocation creep.
  • Article
    High-resolution constraints on pacific upper mantle petrofabric inferred from surface-wave anisotropy.
    (American Geophysical Union, 2018-12-26) Russell, Joshua B. ; Gaherty, James B. ; Lin, Pei-Ying Patty ; Lizarralde, Daniel ; Collins, John A. ; Hirth, Greg ; Evans, Rob L.
    Lithospheric seismic anisotropy illuminates mid‐ocean ridge dynamics and the thermal evolution of oceanic plates. We utilize short‐period (5–7.5 s) ambient‐noise surface waves and 15‐ to 150‐s Rayleigh waves measured across the NoMelt ocean‐bottom array to invert for the complete radial and azimuthal anisotropy in the upper ∼35 km of ∼70‐Ma Pacific lithospheric mantle, and azimuthal anisotropy through the underlying asthenosphere. Strong azimuthal variations in Rayleigh‐ and Love‐wave velocity are observed, including the first clearly measured Love‐wave 2θ and 4θ variations. Inversion of averaged dispersion requires radial anisotropy in the shallow mantle (2‐3%) and the lower crust (4‐5%), with horizontal velocities (VSH) faster than vertical velocities (VSV). Azimuthal anisotropy is strong in the mantle, with 4.5–6% 2θ variation in VSV with fast propagation parallel to the fossil‐spreading direction (FSD), and 2–2.5% 4θ variation in VSH with a fast direction 45° from FSD. The relative behavior of 2θ, 4θ, and radial anisotropy in the mantle are consistent with ophiolite petrofabrics, linking outcrop and surface‐wave length scales. VSV remains fast parallel to FSD to ∼80 km depth where the direction changes, suggesting spreading‐dominated deformation at the ridge. The transition at ∼80 km perhaps marks the dehydration boundary and base of the lithosphere. Azimuthal anisotropy strength increases from the Moho to ∼30 km depth, consistent with flow models of passive upwelling at the ridge. Strong azimuthal anisotropy suggests extremely coherent olivine fabric. Weaker radial anisotropy implies slightly nonhorizontal fabric or the presence of alternative (so‐called E‐type) peridotite fabric. Presence of radial anisotropy in the crust suggests subhorizontal layering and/or shearing during crustal accretion.
  • Article
    Constraints on the depth, thickness, and strength of the G Discontinuity in the Central Pacific from S Receiver Functions
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-03-09) Mark, Hannah F. ; Collins, John A. ; Lizarralde, Daniel ; Hirth, Greg ; Gaherty, James B. ; Evans, Rob L. ; Behn, Mark D.
    The relative motion of the lithosphere with respect to the asthenosphere implies the existence of a boundary zone that accommodates shear between the rigid plates and flowing mantle. This shear zone is typically referred to as the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB). The width of this zone and the mechanisms accommodating shear across it have important implications for coupling between mantle convection and surface plate motion. Seismic observations have provided evidence for several physical mechanisms that might help enable relative plate motion, but how these mechanisms each contribute to the overall accommodation of shear remains unclear. Here we present receiver function constraints on the discontinuity structure of the oceanic upper mantle at the NoMelt site in the central Pacific, where local constraints on shear velocity, anisotropy, conductivity, and attenuation down to ∼300 km depth provide a comprehensive picture of upper mantle structure. We image a seismic discontinuity with a Vsv decrease of 4.5% or more over a 0–20 km thick gradient layer centered at a depth of ∼65 km. We associate this feature with the Gutenberg discontinuity (G), and interpret our observation of G as resulting from strain localization across a dehydration boundary based on the good agreement between the discontinuity depth and that of the dry solidus. Transitions in Vsv, azimuthal anisotropy, conductivity, and attenuation observed at roughly similar depths suggest that the G discontinuity represents a region of localized strain within a broader zone accommodating shear between the lithosphere and asthenosphere.
  • Article
    Drilling constraints on lithospheric accretion and evolution at Atlantis Massif, Mid-Atlantic Ridge 30°N
    (American Geophysical Union, 2011-07-19) Blackman, Donna K. ; Ildefonse, Benoit ; John, Barbara E. ; Ohara, Y. ; Miller, D. J. ; Abe, Natsue ; Abratis, M. ; Andal, E. S. ; Andreani, Muriel ; Awaji, S. ; Beard, J. S. ; Brunelli, Daniele ; Charney, A. B. ; Christie, D. M. ; Collins, John A. ; Delacour, A. G. ; Delius, H. ; Drouin, M. ; Einaudi, F. ; Escartin, Javier E. ; Frost, B. R. ; Fruh-Green, Gretchen L. ; Fryer, P. B. ; Gee, Jeffrey S. ; Grimes, C. B. ; Halfpenny, A. ; Hansen, H.-E. ; Harris, Amber C. ; Tamura, A. ; Hayman, Nicholas W. ; Hellebrand, Eric ; Hirose, T. ; Hirth, Greg ; Ishimaru, S. ; Johnson, Kevin T. M. ; Karner, G. D. ; Linek, M. ; MacLeod, Christopher J. ; Maeda, J. ; Mason, O..U. ; McCaig, A. M. ; Michibayashi, K. ; Morris, Antony ; Nakagawa, T. ; Nozaka, Toshio ; Rosner, Martin ; Searle, Roger C. ; Suhr, G. ; Tominaga, Masako ; von der Handt, A. ; Yamasaki, T. ; Zhao, Xixi
    Expeditions 304 and 305 of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program cored and logged a 1.4 km section of the domal core of Atlantis Massif. Postdrilling research results summarized here constrain the structure and lithology of the Central Dome of this oceanic core complex. The dominantly gabbroic sequence recovered contrasts with predrilling predictions; application of the ground truth in subsequent geophysical processing has produced self-consistent models for the Central Dome. The presence of many thin interfingered petrologic units indicates that the intrusions forming the domal core were emplaced over a minimum of 100–220 kyr, and not as a single magma pulse. Isotopic and mineralogical alteration is intense in the upper 100 m but decreases in intensity with depth. Below 800 m, alteration is restricted to narrow zones surrounding faults, veins, igneous contacts, and to an interval of locally intense serpentinization in olivine-rich troctolite. Hydration of the lithosphere occurred over the complete range of temperature conditions from granulite to zeolite facies, but was predominantly in the amphibolite and greenschist range. Deformation of the sequence was remarkably localized, despite paleomagnetic indications that the dome has undergone at least 45° rotation, presumably during unroofing via detachment faulting. Both the deformation pattern and the lithology contrast with what is known from seafloor studies on the adjacent Southern Ridge of the massif. There, the detachment capping the domal core deformed a 100 m thick zone and serpentinized peridotite comprises ∼70% of recovered samples. We develop a working model of the evolution of Atlantis Massif over the past 2 Myr, outlining several stages that could explain the observed similarities and differences between the Central Dome and the Southern Ridge.
  • Article
    Electrical structure beneath the northern MELT line on the East Pacific Rise at 15°45′S
    (American Geophysical Union, 2006-11-16) Baba, Kiyoshi ; Tarits, Pascal ; Chave, Alan D. ; Evans, Rob L. ; Hirth, Greg ; Mackie, Randall L.
    The electrical structure of the upper mantle beneath the East Pacific Rise (EPR) at 15°45′S is imaged by inverting seafloor magnetotelluric data obtained during the Mantle ELectromagnetic and Tomography (MELT) experiment. The electrical conductivity model shows no evidence for a conductive region immediately beneath the ridge, in contrast to the model previously obtained beneath the EPR at 17°S. This observation can be explained by differences in current melt production along the ridge, consistent with other observations. The mantle to the east of the ridge at 60 –100 km depth is anisotropic, with higher conductivity in the spreading direction compared to the along-strike direction, similar to the 17°S region. The high conductivity in the spreading direction can be explained by a hydrated mantle with strain-induced lattice preferred orientation of olivine or by partial melt preferentially connected in the spreading direction.
  • Article
    Submersible study of an oceanic megamullion in the central North Atlantic
    (American Geophysical Union, 2001-08-10) Tucholke, Brian E. ; Fujioka, Kantaro ; Ishihara, Takemi ; Hirth, Greg ; Kinoshita, Masataka
    Recently discovered megamullions on the seafloor have been interpreted to be the exhumed footwalls of long-lived detachment faults operating near the ends of spreading segments in slow spreading crust. We conducted five submersible dives on one of these features just east of the rift valley in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 26°35′N and obtained visual, rock sample, gravity, and heat flow data along a transect from the breakaway zone (where the fault is interpreted to have first nucleated in ∼2.0–2.2 Ma crust) westward to near the termination (∼0.7 Ma). Our observations are consistent with the detachment fault hypothesis and show the following features. In the breakaway zone, faulted and steeply backtilted basaltic blocks suggest rotation above a deeper shear zone; the youngest normal faults in this sequence are interpreted to have evolved into the long-lived detachment fault. In younger crust the interpreted detachment surface rises as monotonously flat seafloor in a pair of broad, gently sloping domes that formed simultaneously along isochrons and are now thinly covered by sediment. The detachment surface is locally littered with basaltic debris that may have been clipped from the hanging wall. The domes coincide with a gravity high that continues along isochrons within the spreading segment. Modeling of on-bottom gravity measurements and recovery of serpentinites imply that mantle rises steeply and is exposed within ∼7 km west of the breakaway but that rocks with intermediate densities prevail farther west. Within ∼5 km of the termination, small volcanic cones appear on the detachment surface, indicating melt input into the footwall. We interpret the megamullion to have developed during a phase of limited magmatism in the spreading segment, with mantle being exhumed by the detachment fault <0.5 m.y. after its initiation. Increasing magmatism may eventually have weakened the lithosphere and facilitated propagation of a rift that terminated slip on the detachment fault progressively between ∼1.3 m.y. and 0.7 m.y. Identifiable but low-amplitude magnetic anomalies over the megamullion indicate that it incorporates a magmatic component. We infer that much of the footwall is composed of variably serpentinized peridotite intruded by plutons and dikes.
  • Article
    Compositional dependence of lower crustal viscosity
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-10-23) Shinevar, William J. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Hirth, Greg
    We calculate the viscosity structure of the lower continental crust as a function of its bulk composition using multiphase mixing theory. We use the Gibbs free-energy minimization routine Perple_X to calculate mineral assemblages for different crustal compositions under pressure and temperature conditions appropriate for the lower continental crust. The effective aggregate viscosities are then calculated using a rheologic mixing model and flow laws for the major crust-forming minerals. We investigate the viscosity of two lower crustal compositions: (i) basaltic (53 wt % SiO2) and (ii) andesitic (64 wt % SiO2). The andesitic model predicts aggregate viscosities similar to feldspar and approximately 1 order of magnitude greater than that of wet quartz. The viscosity range calculated for the andesitic crustal composition (particularly when hydrous phases are stable) is most similar to independent estimates of lower crust viscosity in actively deforming regions based on postglacial isostatic rebound, postseismic relaxation, and paleolake shoreline deflection.
  • Article
    Thermal-mechanical behavior of oceanic transform faults : implications for the spatial distribution of seismicity
    (American Geophysical Union, 2010-07-01) Roland, Emily C. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Hirth, Greg
    To investigate the spatial distribution of earthquakes along oceanic transform faults, we utilize a 3-D finite element model to calculate the mantle flow field and temperature structure associated with a ridge-transform-ridge system. The model incorporates a viscoplastic rheology to simulate brittle failure in the lithosphere and a non-Newtonian temperature-dependent viscous flow law in the underlying mantle. We consider the effects of three key thermal and rheological feedbacks: (1) frictional weakening due to mantle alteration, (2) shear heating, and (3) hydrothermal circulation in the shallow lithosphere. Of these effects, the thermal structure is most strongly influenced by hydrothermal cooling. We quantify the thermally controlled seismogenic area for a range of fault parameters, including slip rate and fault length, and find that the area between the 350°C and 600°C isotherms (analogous to the zone of seismic slip) is nearly identical to that predicted from a half-space cooling model. However, in contrast to the half-space cooling model, we find that the depth to the 600°C isotherm and the width of the seismogenic zone are nearly constant along the fault, consistent with seismic observations. The calculated temperature structure and zone of permeable fluid flow are also used to approximate the stability field of hydrous phases in the upper mantle. We find that for slow slipping faults, the potential zone of hydrous alteration extends greater than 10 km in depth, suggesting that transform faults serve as a significant pathway for water to enter the oceanic upper mantle.
  • Article
    Upper mantle seismic anisotropy at a strike-slip boundary : South Island, New Zealand
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-02-05) Zietlow, Daniel W. ; Sheehan, Anne F. ; Molnar, Peter H. ; Savage, Martha K. ; Hirth, Greg ; Collins, John A. ; Hager, Bradford H.
    New shear wave splitting measurements made from stations onshore and offshore the South Island of New Zealand show a zone of anisotropy 100–200 km wide. Measurements in central South Island and up to approximately 100 km offshore from the west coast yield orientations of the fast quasi-shear wave nearly parallel to relative plate motion, with increased obliquity to this orientation observed farther from shore. On the eastern side of the island, fast orientations rotate counterclockwise to become nearly perpendicular to the orientation of relative plate motion approximately 200 km off the east coast. Uniform delay times between the fast and slow quasi-shear waves of nearly 2.0 s onshore continue to stations approximately 100 km off the west coast, after which they decrease to ~1 s at 200 km. Stations more than ~300 km from the west coast show little to no splitting. East coast stations have delay times around 1 s. Simple strain fields calculated from a thin viscous sheet model (representing distributed lithospheric deformation) with strain rates decreasing exponentially to both the northwest and southeast with e-folding dimensions of 25–35 km (approximately 75% of the deformation within a zone 100–140 km wide) match orientations and amounts of observed splitting. A model of deformation localized in the lithosphere and then spreading out in the asthenosphere also yields predictions consistent with observed splitting if, at depths of 100–130 km below the lithosphere, typical grain sizes are ~ 6–7 mm.
  • Article
  • Preprint
    Diapirs as the source of the sediment signature in arc lavas
    ( 2011-05-31) Behn, Mark D. ; Kelemen, Peter B. ; Hirth, Greg ; Hacker, Bradley R. ; Massonne, Hans-Joachim
    Many arc lavas show evidence for the involvement of subducted sediment in the melting process. There is debate whether this “sediment melt” signature forms at relatively low temperature near the fluid-saturated solidus or at higher temperature beyond the breakdown of trace-element-rich accessory minerals. We present new geochemical data from high- to ultrahigh-pressure rocks that underwent subduction and show no significant depletion of key trace elements in the sediment melt component until peak metamorphic temperatures exceeded ~1050ºC from 2.7 to 5 GPa. These temperatures are higher than for the top of the subducting plate at similar pressures based on thermal models. To address this discrepancy, we use instability calculations for a non-Newtonian buoyant layer in a viscous half-space to show that, in typical subduction zones, solid-state sediment diapirs initiate at temperatures between 500–850ºC. Based on these calculations, we propose that the sediment melt component in arc magmas is produced by high degrees of dehydration melting in buoyant diapirs of metasediment that detach from the slab and rise into the hot mantle wedge. Efficient recycling of sediments into the wedge by this mechanism will alter volatile fluxes into the deep mantle compared to estimates based solely on devolatilization of the slab.
  • Article
    Mantle dynamics beneath the East Pacific Rise at 17°S : insights from the Mantle Electromagnetic and Tomography (MELT) experiment
    (American Geophysical Union, 2006-02-17) Baba, Kiyoshi ; Chave, Alan D. ; Evans, Rob L. ; Hirth, Greg ; Mackie, Randall L.
    The electromagnetic data from the Mantle Electromagnetic and Tomography (MELT) experiment are inverted for a two-dimensional transversely anisotropic conductivity structure that incorporates a correction for three-dimensional topographic effects on the magnetotelluric responses. The model space allows for different conductivity values in the along-strike, cross-strike, and vertical directions, along with imposed constraints of model smoothness and closeness among the three directions. Anisotropic models provide a slightly better fit to the data for a given level of model smoothness and are more consistent with other geophysical and laboratory data. The preferred anisotropic model displays a resistive uppermost 60-km-thick mantle independent of plate age, except in the vicinity of the ridge crest. In most inversions, a vertically aligned sheet-like conductor at the ridge crest is especially prominent in the vertical conductivity. Its presence suggests that the melt is more highly concentrated and connected in the vertical direction immediately beneath the rise axis. The melt zone is at least 100 km wide and is asymmetric, having a greater extent to the west. Off-axis, and to the east of the ridge, the mantle is more conductive in the direction of plate spreading at depths greater than 60 km. The flat resistive-conductive boundary at 60 km agrees well with the inferred depth of the dry solidus of peridotite, and the deeper conductive region is consistent with the preferred orientation of olivine inferred from seismic observations. This suggests that the uppermost 60 km represents the region of mantle that has undergone melting at the ridge and has been depleted of water (dissolved hydrogen). By contrast, the underlying mantle has retained a significant amount of water.
  • Preprint
    Evolution of olivine lattice preferred orientation during simple shear in the mantle
    ( 2008-04-03) Warren, Jessica M. ; Hirth, Greg ; Kelemen, Peter B.
    Understanding the variation of olivine lattice preferred orientation (LPO) as a function of shear strain is important for models that relate seismic anisotropy to the kinematics of deformation. We present results on the evolution of olivine orientation as a function of shear strain in samples from a shear zone in the Josephine Peridotite (southwest Oregon). We find that the LPO in harzburgites re-orients from a pre-existing LPO outside the shear zone to a new LPO with the olivine [100] maximum aligned sub-parallel to the shear direction between 168% and 258% shear strain. The strain at which [100] aligns with the shear plane is slightly higher than that observed in experimental samples, which do not have an initial LPO. While our observations broadly agree with the experimental observations, our results suggest that a pre-existing LPO influences the strain necessary for LPO alignment with the shear direction. In addition, olivine re-alignment appears to be dominated by slip on both (010)[100] and (001)[100], due to the orientation of the pre-existing LPO. Fabric strengths, quantified using both the J- and M- indices, do not increase with increasing shear strain. Unlike experimental observations, our natural samples do not have a secondary LPO peak. The lack of a secondary peak suggests that subgrain rotation recrystallization dominates over grain boundary migration during fabric re-alignment. Harzburgites exhibit girdle patterns among [010] and [001] axes, while a dunite has point maxima. Combined with the observation that harzburgites are finer grained than dunites, we speculate that additional phases (i.e., pyroxenes) limit olivine grain growth and promote grain boundary sliding. Grain boundary sliding may relax the requirement for slip on the hardest olivine system, enhancing activation of the two easiest olivine slip systems, resulting in the [010] and [001] girdle patterns. Overall, our results provide an improved framework for calibration of LPO evolution models.
  • Article
    The electrical structure of the central Pacific upper mantle constrained by the NoMelt experiment
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-04-18) Sarafian, Emily K. ; Evans, Rob L. ; Collins, John A. ; Elsenbeck, James R. ; Gaetani, Glenn A. ; Gaherty, James B. ; Hirth, Greg ; Lizarralde, Daniel
    The NoMelt experiment imaged the mantle beneath 70 Ma Pacific seafloor with the aim of understanding the transition from the lithosphere to the underlying convecting asthenosphere. Seafloor magnetotelluric data from four stations were analyzed using 2-D regularized inverse modeling. The preferred electrical model for the region contains an 80 km thick resistive (>103 Ωm) lithosphere with a less resistive (∼50 Ωm) underlying asthenosphere. The preferred model is isotropic and lacks a highly conductive (≤10 Ωm) layer under the resistive lithosphere that would be indicative of partial melt. We first examine temperature profiles that are consistent with the observed conductivity profile. Our profile is consistent with a mantle adiabat ranging from 0.3 to 0.5°C/km. A choice of the higher adiabatic gradient means that the observed conductivity can be explained solely by temperature. In contrast, a 0.3°C/km adiabat requires an additional mechanism to explain the observed conductivity profile. Of the plausible mechanisms, H2O, in the form of hydrogen dissolved in olivine, is the most likely explanation for this additional conductivity. Our profile is consistent with a mostly dry lithosphere to 80 km depth, with bulk H2O contents increasing to between 25 and 400 ppm by weight in the asthenosphere with specific values dependent on the choice of laboratory data set of hydrous olivine conductivity and the value of mantle oxygen fugacity. The estimated H2O contents support the theory that the rheological lithosphere is a result of dehydration during melting at a mid-ocean ridge with the asthenosphere remaining partially hydrated and weakened as a result.