Behn Mark D.

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Mark D.

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  • Article
    The role of elasticity in simulating long-term tectonic extension
    (Oxford University Press, 2016-01-27) Olive, Jean-Arthur ; Behn, Mark D. ; Mittelstaedt, Eric ; Ito, Garrett T. ; Klein, Benjamin Z.
    While elasticity is a defining characteristic of the Earth's lithosphere, it is often ignored in numerical models of long-term tectonic processes in favour of a simpler viscoplastic description. Here we assess the consequences of this assumption on a well-studied geodynamic problem: the growth of normal faults at an extensional plate boundary. We conduct 2-D numerical simulations of extension in elastoplastic and viscoplastic layers using a finite difference, particle-in-cell numerical approach. Our models simulate a range of faulted layer thicknesses and extension rates, allowing us to quantify the role of elasticity on three key observables: fault-induced topography, fault rotation, and fault life span. In agreement with earlier studies, simulations carried out in elastoplastic layers produce rate-independent lithospheric flexure accompanied by rapid fault rotation and an inverse relationship between fault life span and faulted layer thickness. By contrast, models carried out with a viscoplastic lithosphere produce results that may qualitatively resemble the elastoplastic case, but depend strongly on the product of extension rate and layer viscosity U × ηL. When this product is high, fault growth initially generates little deformation of the footwall and hanging wall blocks, resulting in unrealistic, rigid block-offset in topography across the fault. This configuration progressively transitions into a regime where topographic decay associated with flexure is fully accommodated within the numerical domain. In addition, high U × ηL favours the sequential growth of multiple short-offset faults as opposed to a large-offset detachment. We interpret these results by comparing them to an analytical model for the fault-induced flexure of a thin viscous plate. The key to understanding the viscoplastic model results lies in the rate-dependence of the flexural wavelength of a viscous plate, and the strain rate dependence of the force increase associated with footwall and hanging wall bending. This behaviour produces unrealistic deformation patterns that can hinder the geological relevance of long-term rifting models that assume a viscoplastic rheology.
  • Article
    Relationship between Greenland Ice Sheet surface speed and modeled effective pressure
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-09-27) Stevens, Laura A. ; Hewitt, Ian J. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Behn, Mark D.
    We use a numerical subglacial hydrology model and remotely sensed observations of Greenland Ice Sheet surface motion to test whether the inverse relationship between effective pressure and regional melt season surface speeds observed at individual sites holds on a regional scale. The model is forced with daily surface runoff estimates for 2009 and 2010 across an ~8,000‐km2 region on the western margin. The overall subglacial drainage system morphology develops similarly in both years, with subglacial channel networks growing inland from the ice sheet margin and robust subglacial pathways forming over bedrock ridges. Modeled effective pressures are compared to contemporaneous regional surface speeds derived from TerraSAR‐X imagery to investigate spatial relationships. Our results show an inverse spatial relationship between effective pressure and ice speed in the mid‐melt season, when surface speeds are elevated, indicating that effective pressure is the dominant control on surface velocities in the mid‐melt season. By contrast, in the early and late melt seasons, when surface speeds are slower, effective pressure and surface speed have a positive relationship. Our results suggest that outside of the mid‐melt season, the influence of effective pressures on sliding speeds may be secondary to the influence of driving stress and spatially variable bed roughness.
  • Article
    Marine ice cliff instability mitigated by slow removal of ice shelves
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-10-21) Clerc, Fiona ; Minchew, Brent M. ; Behn, Mark D.
    The accelerated calving of ice shelves buttressing the Antarctic Ice Sheet may form unstable ice cliffs. The marine ice cliff instability hypothesis posits that cliffs taller than a critical height (~90 m) will undergo structural collapse, initiating runaway retreat in ice‐sheet models. This critical height is based on inferences from preexisting, static ice cliffs. Here we show how the critical height increases with the timescale of ice‐shelf collapse. We model failure mechanisms within an ice cliff deforming after removal of ice‐shelf buttressing stresses. If removal occurs rapidly, the cliff deforms primarily elastically and fails through tensile‐brittle fracture, even at relatively small cliff heights. As the ice‐shelf removal timescale increases, viscous relaxation dominates, and the critical height increases to ~540 m for timescales greater than days. A 90‐m critical height implies ice‐shelf removal in under an hour. Incorporation of ice‐shelf collapse timescales in prognostic ice‐sheet models will mitigate the marine ice cliff instability, implying less ice mass loss.
  • Article
    Focusing of upward fluid migration beneath volcanic arcs : effect of mineral grain size variation in the mantle wedge
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-11-13) Wada, Ikuko ; Behn, Mark D.
    We use numerical models to investigate the effects of mineral grain size variation on fluid migration in the mantle wedge at subduction zones and on the location of the volcanic arc. Previous coupled thermal-grain size evolution (T-GSE) models predict small grain size (<1 mm) in the corner flow of the mantle wedge, a downdip grain size increase by ∼2 orders of magnitude along the base of the mantle wedge, and finer grain size in the mantle wedge for colder-slab subduction zones. We integrate these T-GSE modeling results with a fluid migration model, in which permeability depends on grain size, and fluid flow through a moving mantle matrix is driven by fluid buoyancy and dynamic pressure gradients induced by mantle flow. Our modeling results indicate that fluids introduced along the base of the mantle wedge beneath the fore arc are initially dragged downdip by corner flow due to the small grain size and low permeability immediately above the slab. As grain size increases with depth, permeability increases, resulting in upward fluid migration. Fluids released beneath the arc and the back arc are also initially dragged downdip, but typically are not transported as far laterally before they begin to travel upward. As the fluids rise through the back-arc mantle wedge, they become deflected toward the trench due to the effect of mantle inflow. The combination of downdip migration in the fore arc and trench-ward migration in the back arc results in pathways that focus fluids beneath the arc.
  • Article
    Grain-size dynamics beneath mid-ocean ridges : implications for permeability and melt extraction
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-03-26) Turner, Andrew J. ; Katz, Richard F. ; Behn, Mark D.
    Grain size is an important control on mantle viscosity and permeability, but is difficult or impossible to measure in situ. We construct a two-dimensional, single phase model for the steady state mean grain size beneath a mid-ocean ridge. The mantle rheology is modeled as a composite of diffusion creep, dislocation creep, dislocation accommodated grain boundary sliding, and a plastic stress limiter. The mean grain size is calculated by the paleowattmeter relationship of Austin and Evans (2007). We investigate the sensitivity of our model to global variations in grain growth exponent, potential temperature, spreading-rate, and mantle hydration. We interpret the mean grain-size field in terms of its permeability to melt transport. The permeability structure due to mean grain size may be approximated as a high permeability region beneath a low permeability region. The transition between high and low permeability regions occurs across a boundary that is steeply inclined toward the ridge axis. We hypothesize that such a permeability structure generated from the variability of the mean grain size may focus melt toward the ridge axis, analogous to Sparks and Parmentier (1991)-type focusing. This focusing may, in turn, constrain the region where significant melt fractions are observed by seismic or magnetotelluric surveys. This interpretation of melt focusing via the grain-size permeability structure is consistent with MT observation of the asthenosphere beneath the East Pacific Rise.
  • Article
    Frictional behavior of oceanic transform faults and its influence on earthquake characteristics
    (American Geophysical Union, 2012-04-26) Liu, Yajing ; McGuire, Jeffrey J. ; Behn, Mark D.
    We use a three-dimensional strike-slip fault model in the framework of rate and state-dependent friction to investigate earthquake behavior and scaling relations on oceanic transform faults (OTFs). Gabbro friction data under hydrothermal conditions are mapped onto OTFs using temperatures from (1) a half-space cooling model, and (2) a thermal model that incorporates a visco-plastic rheology, non-Newtonian viscous flow and the effects of shear heating and hydrothermal circulation. Without introducing small-scale frictional heterogeneities on the fault, our model predicts that an OTF segment can transition between seismic and aseismic slip over many earthquake cycles, consistent with the multimode hypothesis for OTF ruptures. The average seismic coupling coefficient χ is strongly dependent on the ratio of seismogenic zone width W to earthquake nucleation size h*; χ increases by four orders of magnitude as W/h* increases from ∼1 to 2. Specifically, the average χ = 0.15 ± 0.05 derived from global OTF earthquake catalogs can be reached at W/h* ≈ 1.2–1.7. Further, in all simulations the area of the largest earthquake rupture is less than the total seismogenic area and we predict a deficiency of large earthquakes on long transforms, which is also consistent with observations. To match these observations over this narrow range of W/h* requires an increase in the characteristic slip distance dc as the seismogenic zone becomes wider and normal stress is higher on long transforms. Earthquake magnitude and distribution on the Gofar and Romanche transforms are better predicted by simulations using the visco-plastic model than the half-space cooling model.
  • Article
    Influence of ice-sheet geometry and supraglacial lakes on seasonal ice-flow variability
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2013-07-26) Joughin, Ian ; Das, Sarah B. ; Flowers, G. E. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Alley, Richard B. ; King, Matt A. ; Smith, B. E. ; Bamber, Jonathan L. ; van den Broeke, Michiel R. ; van Angelen, J. H.
    Supraglacial lakes play an important role in establishing hydrological connections that allow lubricating seasonal meltwater to reach the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Here we use new surface velocity observations to examine the influence of supraglacial lake drainages and surface melt rate on ice flow. We find large, spatially extensive speedups concurrent with times of lake drainage, showing that lakes play a key role in modulating regional ice flow. While surface meltwater is supplied to the bed via a geographically sparse network of moulins, the observed ice-flow enhancement suggests that this meltwater spreads widely over the ice-sheet bed. We also find that the complex spatial pattern of speedup is strongly determined by the combined influence of bed and surface topography on subglacial water flow. Thus, modeling of ice-sheet basal hydrology likely will require knowledge of bed topography resolved at scales (sub-kilometer) far finer than existing data (several km).
  • Article
    Rapid rotation of normal faults due to flexural stresses : an explanation for the global distribution of normal fault dips
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-04-24) Olive, Jean-Arthur L. ; Behn, Mark D.
    We present a mechanical model to explain why most seismically active normal faults have dips much lower (30–60°) than expected from Anderson-Byerlee theory (60–65°). Our model builds on classic finite extension theory but incorporates rotation of the active fault plane as a response to the buildup of bending stresses with increasing extension. We postulate that fault plane rotation acts to minimize the amount of extensional work required to sustain slip on the fault. In an elastic layer, this assumption results in rapid rotation of the active fault plane from ~60° down to 30–45° before fault heave has reached ~50% of the faulted layer thickness. Commensurate but overall slower rotation occurs in faulted layers of finite strength. Fault rotation rates scale as the inverse of the faulted layer thickness, which is in quantitative agreement with 2-D geodynamic simulations that include an elastoplastic description of the lithosphere. We show that fault rotation promotes longer-lived fault extension compared to continued slip on a high-angle normal fault and discuss the implications of such a mechanism for fault evolution in continental rift systems and oceanic spreading centers.
  • Article
    Grain-size distribution in the mantle wedge of subduction zones
    (American Geophysical Union, 2011-10-20) Wada, Ikuko ; Behn, Mark D. ; He, Jiangheng
    Mineral grain size plays an important role in controlling many processes in the mantle wedge of subduction zones, including mantle flow and fluid migration. To investigate the grain-size distribution in the mantle wedge, we coupled a two-dimensional (2-D) steady state finite element thermal and mantle-flow model with a laboratory-derived grain-size evolution model. In our coupled model, the mantle wedge has a composite olivine rheology that incorporates grain-size-dependent diffusion creep and grain-size-independent dislocation creep. Our results show that all subduction settings lead to a characteristic grain-size distribution, in which grain size increases from 10 to 100 μm at the most trenchward part of the creeping region to a few centimeters in the subarc mantle. Despite the large variation in grain size, its effect on the mantle rheology and flow is very small, as >90% of the deformation in the flowing part of the creeping region is accommodated by grain-size-independent dislocation creep. The predicted grain-size distribution leads to a downdip increase in permeability by ∼5 orders of magnitude. This increase is likely to promote greater upward migration of aqueous fluids and melts where the slab reaches ∼100 km depth compared with shallower depths, potentially providing an explanation for the relatively uniform subarc slab depth. Seismic attenuation derived from the predicted grain-size distribution and thermal field is consistent with the observed seismic structure in the mantle wedge at many subduction zones, without requiring a significant contribution by the presence of melt.
  • Article
    Spreading rate-dependent variations in crystallization along the global mid-ocean ridge system
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-08-13) Wanless, V. Dorsey ; Behn, Mark D.
    We investigate crustal accretion at mid-ocean ridges by combining crystallization pressures calculated from major element contents in mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) glasses and vapor-saturation pressures from melt inclusions and MORB glasses. Specifically, we use established major element barometers and pressures estimated from 192 fractional crystallization trends to calculate crystallization pressures from >9000 MORB glasses across the global range of mid-ocean ridge spreading rates. Additionally, we estimate vapor-saturation pressures from >400 MORB glasses from PETDB and >400 olivine-hosted melt inclusions compiled from five ridges with variable spreading rates. Both major element and vapor-saturation pressures increase and become more variable with decreasing spreading rate. Vapor saturation pressures indicate that crystallization occurs in the lower crust and upper mantle at all ridges, even when a melt lens is present. We suggest that the broad peaks in major element crystallization pressures at all spreading rates reflects significant crystallization of on and off-axis magmas along the base of a sloping lithosphere. Combining our observations with ridge thermal models we show that crystallization occurs over a range of pressures at all ridges, but it is enhanced at thermal/rheologic boundaries, such as the melt lens and the base of the lithosphere. Finally, we suggest that the remarkable similarity in the maximum vapor-saturation pressures (∼3 kbars) recorded in melt inclusions from a wide range of spreading rates reflects a relatively uniform CO2 content of 50–85 ppm for the depleted upper mantle feeding the global mid-ocean ridge system.
  • Article
    Melting systematics in mid-ocean ridge basalts : application of a plagioclase-spinel melting model to global variations in major element chemistry and crustal thickness
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-07-20) Behn, Mark D. ; Grove, Timothy L.
    We present a new model for anhydrous melting in the spinel and plagioclase stability fields that provides enhanced predictive capabilities for the major element compositional variability found in mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORBs). The model is built on the formulation of Kinzler and Grove (1992) and Kinzler (1997) but incorporates new experimental data collected since these calibrations. The melting model is coupled to geodynamic simulations of mantle flow and mid-ocean ridge temperature structure to investigate global variations in MORB chemistry and crustal thickness as a function of mantle potential temperature, spreading rate, mantle composition, and the pattern(s) of melt migration. While the initiation of melting is controlled by mantle temperature, the cessation of melting is primarily determined by spreading rate, which controls the thickness of the lithospheric lid, and not by the exhaustion of clinopyroxene. Spreading rate has the greatest influence on MORB compositions at slow to ultraslow spreading rates (<2 cm/yr half rate), where the thermal boundary layer becomes thicker than the oceanic crust. A key aspect of our approach is that we incorporate evidence from both MORB major element compositions and seismically determined crustal thicknesses to constrain global variations in mantle melting parameters. Specifically, we show that to explain the global data set of crustal thickness, Na8, Fe8, Si8, Ca8/Al8, and K8/Ti8 (oxides normalized to 8 wt % MgO) require a relatively narrow zone over which melts are pooled to the ridge axis. In all cases, our preferred model involves melt transport to the ridge axis over relatively short horizontal length scales (~25 km). This implies that although melting occurs over a wide region beneath the ridge axis, up to 20–40% of the total melt volume is not extracted and will eventually refreeze and refertilize the lithosphere. We find that the temperature range required to explain the global geochemical and geophysical data sets is 1300°C to 1450°C. Finally, a small subset of the global data is best modeled as melts of a depleted mantle source composition (e.g., depleted MORB mantle—2% melt).
  • Article
    Seismicity on the western Greenland Ice Sheet : surface fracture in the vicinity of active moulins
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-06-25) Carmichael, Joshua D. ; Joughin, Ian ; Behn, Mark D. ; Das, Sarah B. ; King, Matt A. ; Stevens, Laura A. ; Lizarralde, Daniel
    We analyzed geophone and GPS measurements collected within the ablation zone of the western Greenland Ice Sheet during a ~35 day period of the 2011 melt season to study changes in ice deformation before, during, and after a supraglacial lake drainage event. During rapid lake drainage, ice flow speeds increased to ~400% of winter values, and icequake activity peaked. At times >7 days after drainage, this seismicity developed variability over both diurnal and longer periods (~10 days), while coincident ice speeds fell to ~150% of winter values and showed nightly peaks in spatial variability. Approximately 95% of all detected seismicity in the lake basin and its immediate vicinity was triggered by fracture propagation within near-surface ice (<330 m deep) that generated Rayleigh waves. Icequakes occurring before and during drainage frequently were collocated with the down flow (west) end of the primary hydrofracture through which the lake drained but shifted farther west and outside the lake basin after the drainage. We interpret these results to reveal vertical hydrofracture opening and local uplift during the drainage, followed by enhanced seismicity and ice flow on the downstream side of the lake basin. This region collocates with interferometric synthetic aperture radar-measured speedup in previous years and could reflect the migration path of the meltwater supplied to the bed by the lake. The diurnal seismic signal can be associated with nightly reductions in surface melt input that increase effective basal pressure and traction, thereby promoting elevated strain in the surficial ice.
  • Article
    Constraints on lithosphere net rotation and asthenospheric viscosity from global mantle flow models and seismic anisotropy
    (American Geophysical Union, 2010-05-13) Conrad, Clinton P. ; Behn, Mark D.
    Although an average westward rotation of the Earth's lithosphere is indicated by global analyses of surface features tied to the deep mantle (e.g., hot spot tracks), the rate of lithospheric drift is uncertain despite its importance to global geodynamics. We use a global viscous flow model to predict asthenospheric anisotropy computed from linear combinations of mantle flow fields driven by relative plate motions, mantle density heterogeneity, and westward lithosphere rotation. By comparing predictions of lattice preferred orientation to asthenospheric anisotropy in oceanic regions inferred from SKS splitting observations and surface wave tomography, we constrain absolute upper mantle viscosity (to 0.5–1.0 × 1021 Pa s, consistent with other constraints) simultaneously with net rotation rate and the decrease in the viscosity of the asthenosphere relative to that of the upper mantle. For an asthenosphere 10 times less viscous than the upper mantle, we find that global net rotation must be <0.26°/Myr (<60% of net rotation in the HS3 (Pacific hot spot) reference frame); larger viscosity drops amplify asthenospheric shear associated with net rotation and thus require slower net rotation to fit observed anisotropy. The magnitude of westward net rotation is consistent with lithospheric drift relative to Indo-Atlantic hot spots but is slower than drift in the Pacific hot spot frame (HS3 ≈ 0.44°/Myr). The latter may instead express net rotation relative to the deep mantle beneath the Pacific plate, which is moving rapidly eastward in our models.
  • Article
    Greenland Ice Sheet flow response to runoff variability
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-11-12) Stevens, Laura A. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Joughin, Ian ; Noel, Brice P. Y. ; van den Broeke, Michiel R. ; Herring, Thomas
    We use observations of ice sheet surface motion from a Global Positioning System network operating from 2006 to 2014 around North Lake in west Greenland to investigate the dynamical response of the Greenland Ice Sheet's ablation area to interannual variability in surface melting. We find no statistically significant relationship between runoff season characteristics and ice flow velocities within a given year or season. Over the 7 year time series, annual velocities at North Lake decrease at an average rate of −0.9 ± 1.1 m yr−2, consistent with the negative trend in annual velocities observed in neighboring regions over recent decades. We find that net runoff integrated over several preceding years has a negative correlation with annual velocities, similar to findings from the two other available decadal records of ice velocity in western Greenland. However, we argue that this correlation is not necessarily evidence for a direct hydrologic mechanism acting on the timescale of multiple years but could be a statistical construct. Finally, we stress that neither the decadal slowdown trend nor the negative correlation between velocity and integrated runoff is predicted by current ice-sheet models, underscoring that these models do not yet capture all the relevant feedbacks between runoff and ice dynamics needed to predict long-term trends in ice sheet flow.
  • Article
    Thermal segmentation of mid-ocean ridge-transform faults
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-09-13) Wolfson-Schwehr, Monica ; Boettcher, Margaret S. ; Behn, Mark D.
    3-D finite element simulations are used to calculate thermal structures and mantle flow fields underlying mid-ocean ridge-transform faults (RTFs) composed of two fault segments separated by an orthogonal step over. Using fault lengths and slip rates, we derive an empirical scaling relation for the critical step over length ( inline image), which marks the transition from predominantly horizontal to predominantly vertical mantle flow at the base of the lithosphere under a step over. Using the ratio of step over length (LS) to inline image, we define three degrees of segmentation: first-degree, corresponding to type I step overs ( inline image ≥ 3); second-degree, corresponding to type II step overs (1 ≤  inline image < 3); and third-degree, corresponding to type III step overs ( inline image <1). In first-degree segmentation, thermal structures and mantle upwelling patterns under a step over are similar to those of mature ridges, where normal mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORBs) form. The seismogenic area under first-degree segmentation is characteristic of two, isolated faults. Second-degree segmentation creates pull-apart basins with subdued melt generation, and intratransform spreading centers with enriched MORBs. The seismogenic area of RTFs under second-degree segmentation is greater than that of two isolated faults, but less than that of an unsegmented RTF. Under third-degree segmentation, mantle flow is predominantly horizontal, resulting in little lithospheric thinning and little to no melt generation. The total seismogenic area under third-degree segmentation approaches that of an unsegmented RTF. Our scaling relations characterize the degree of segmentation due to step overs along transform faults and provide insight into RTF frictional processes, seismogenic behavior, and melt transport.
  • Article
    Magmatic plumbing at Lucky Strike volcano based on olivine-hosted melt inclusion compositions
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-01-20) Wanless, V. Dorsey ; Shaw, Alison M. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Soule, Samuel A. ; Escartin, Javier E. ; Hamelin, Cedric
    Here we present volatile, major, and trace element concentrations of 64 olivine-hosted melt inclusions from the Lucky Strike segment on the mid-Atlantic ridge. Lucky Strike is one of two locations where a crustal melt lens has been seismically imaged on a slow-spreading ridge. Vapor-saturation pressures, calculated from CO2 and H2O contents of Lucky Strike melt inclusions, range from approximately 300–3000 bars, corresponding to depths of 0.5–9.9 km below the seafloor. Approximately 50% of the melt inclusions record crystallization depths of 3–4 km, corresponding to the seismically imaged melt lens depth, while an additional ∼35% crystallize at depths > 4 km. This indicates that while crystallization is focused within the melt lens, significant crystallization also occurs in the lower crust and/or upper mantle. The melt inclusions span a range of major and trace element concentrations from normal to enriched basalts. Trace element ratios at all depths are heterogeneous, suggesting that melts are not efficiently homogenized in the mantle or crust, despite the presence of a melt lens. This is consistent with the transient nature of magma chambers proposed for slower-spreading ridges. To investigate the petrogenesis of the melt inclusion compositions, we compare the measured trace element compositions to theoretical melting calculations that consider variations in the melting geometry and heterogeneities in the mantle source. The full range of compositions can be produced by slight variations in the proportion of an Azores plume and depleted upper mantle components and changes in the total extent of melting.
  • Article
    Limits to future expansion of surface-melt-enhanced ice flow into the interior of western Greenland
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-03-24) Poinar, Kristin ; Joughin, Ian ; Das, Sarah B. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Lenaerts, Jan T. M. ; van den Broeke, Michiel R.
    Moulins are important conduits for surface meltwater to reach the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet. It has been proposed that in a warming climate, newly formed moulins associated with the inland migration of supraglacial lakes could introduce surface melt to new regions of the bed, introducing or enhancing sliding there. By examining surface strain rates, we found that the upper limit to where crevasses, and therefore moulins, are likely to form is ~1600 m. This is also roughly the elevation above which lakes do not drain completely. Thus, meltwater above this elevation will largely flow tens of kilometers through surface streams into existing moulins downstream. Furthermore, results from a thermal ice sheet model indicate that the ~1600 m crevassing limit is well below the wet-frozen basal transition (~2000 m). Together, these data sets suggest that new supraglacial lakes will have a limited effect on the inland expansion of melt-induced seasonal acceleration.
  • 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
    Magmatic focusing to mid-ocean ridges : the role of grain-size variability and non-Newtonian viscosity
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-12-06) Turner, Andrew J. ; Katz, Richard F. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Keller, Tobias
    Melting beneath mid-ocean ridges occurs over a region that is much broader than the zone of magmatic emplacement that forms the oceanic crust. Magma is focused into this zone by lateral transport. This focusing has typically been explained by dynamic pressure gradients associated with corner flow, or by a sublithospheric channel sloping upward toward the ridge axis. Here we discuss a novel mechanism for magmatic focusing: lateral transport driven by gradients in compaction pressure within the asthenosphere. These gradients arise from the covariation of melting rate and compaction viscosity. The compaction viscosity, in previous models, was given as a function of melt fraction and temperature. In contrast, we show that the viscosity variations relevant to melt focusing arise from grain-size variability and non-Newtonian creep. The asthenospheric distribution of melt fraction predicted by our models provides an improved explanation of the electrical resistivity structure beneath one location on the East Pacific Rise. More generally, we find that although grain-size and non-Newtonian viscosity are properties of the solid phase, their effect on melt transport beneath mid-ocean ridges is more profound than their effect on the mantle corner flow.