Behn Mark D.

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Mark D.

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  • Article
    Mantle heterogeneity and melting processes in the South China Sea: thermal and melting models constrained by oceanic crustal thickness and basalt geochemistry
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-01-13) Zhang, Xubo ; Lin, Jian ; Behn, Mark D.
    We simulate mantle flow, thermal structure, and melting processes beneath the ridge axis of the South China Sea (SCS), combining the nominally anhydrous melting and fractional crystallization model, to study mantle heterogeneity and basin evolution. The model results are constrained by seismically determined crustal thickness and major element composition of fossil ridge axis basalts. The effects of half-spreading rate, mantle potential temperature, mantle source composition, and the pattern of melt migration on the crustal thickness and magma chemical composition are systematically investigated. For the SCS, the east and southwest (SW) subbasins have comparable crustal thickness, but the east subbasin has higher FeO and Na2O contents compared to the SW subbasin. The estimated best fitting mantle potential temperatures in the east and SW subbasins are 1,360 ± 15 °C and 1,350 ± 25 °C, respectively. The mantle in the east subbasin (site U1431) prior to the cessation of seafloor spreading is composed primarily of the depleted mid-ocean ridge basalt mantle (DMM), and is slightly contaminated by eclogite/pyroxenite-rich component. However, the mantle source composition of the SW subbasin (sites U1433 and U1434) contains a small percentage (2–5%) of lower continental crust. Basalt samples at the northern margin of the east subbasin (site U1500) shows similar chemical characteristics with that of the SW subbasin. We suggest that the basin-scale variability in the mantle heterogeneity of the SCS can be explained by a single model in which the contamination by the lower continental crust is gradually diluted by melting of DMM as the ridge moves away from the rifted margin.
  • Article
    Aseismic transient slip on the Gofar transform fault, East Pacific Rise
    (National Academy of Sciences, 2020-04-28) Liu, Yajing ; McGuire, Jeffrey J. ; Behn, Mark D.
    Oceanic transform faults display a unique combination of seismic and aseismic slip behavior, including a large globally averaged seismic deficit, and the local occurrence of repeating magnitude (M) ∼6 earthquakes with abundant foreshocks and seismic swarms, as on the Gofar transform of the East Pacific Rise and the Blanco Ridge in the northeast Pacific Ocean. However, the underlying mechanisms that govern the partitioning between seismic and aseismic slip and their interaction remain unclear. Here we present a numerical modeling study of earthquake sequences and aseismic transient slip on oceanic transform faults. In the model, strong dilatancy strengthening, supported by seismic imaging that indicates enhanced fluid-filled porosity and possible hydrothermal circulation down to the brittle–ductile transition, effectively stabilizes along-strike seismic rupture propagation and results in rupture barriers where aseismic transients arise episodically. The modeled slow slip migrates along the barrier zones at speeds ∼10 to 600 m/h, spatiotemporally correlated with the observed migration of seismic swarms on the Gofar transform. Our model thus suggests the possible prevalence of episodic aseismic transients in M ∼6 rupture barrier zones that host active swarms on oceanic transform faults and provides candidates for future seafloor geodesy experiments to verify the relation between aseismic fault slip, earthquake swarms, and fault zone hydromechanical properties.
  • Article
    Melt segregation and depletion during ascent of buoyant diapirs in subduction zones
    (American Geophysical Union, 2020-01-31) Zhang, Nan ; Behn, Mark D. ; Parmentier, E. Marc ; Kincaid, Christopher
    Cold, low‐density diapirs arising from hydrated mantle and/or subducted sediments on the top of subducting slabs have been invoked to transport key chemical signatures to the source region of arc magmas. However, to date there have been few quantitative models to constrain melting in such diapirs. Here we use a two‐phase Darcy‐Stokes‐energy model to investigate thermal evolution, melting, and depletion in a buoyant sediment diapir ascending through the mantle wedge. Using a simplified 2‐D circular geometry, we investigate diapir evolution in three scenarios with increasing complexity. In the first two scenarios we consider instantaneous heating of a diapir by thermal diffusion with and without the effect of the latent heat of melting. Then, these simplified calculations are compared to numerical simulations that include melting, melt segregation, and the influence of depletion on the sediment solidus along pressure‐temperature‐time (P ‐T ‐t ) paths appropriate for ascent through the mantle wedge. The high boundary temperature induces a rim of high porosity, into which new melts are focused and then migrate upward. The rim thus acts like an annulus melt channel, while the effect of depletion buffers additional melt production. Solid matrix flow combined with recrystallization of melt pooled near the top of the diapir can result in large gradients in depletion across the diapir. These large depletion gradients can either be preserved if the diapir leaks melt during ascent, or rehomogenized in a sealed diapir. Overall our numerical simulations predict less melt production than the simplified thermal diffusion calculations. Specifically, we show that diapirs whose ascent paths favor melting beneath the volcanic arc will undergo no more than ~40–50% total melting.
  • Article
    Hydraulic transmissivity inferred from ice-sheet relaxation following Greenland supraglacial lake drainages
    (Nature Research, 2021-06-25) Lai, Ching-Yao ; Stevens, Laura A. ; Chase, Danielle L. ; Creyts, Timothy T. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Stone, Howard A.
    Surface meltwater reaching the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet transits through drainage networks, modulating the flow of the ice sheet. Dye and gas-tracing studies conducted in the western margin sector of the ice sheet have directly observed drainage efficiency to evolve seasonally along the drainage pathway. However, the local evolution of drainage systems further inland, where ice thicknesses exceed 1000 m, remains largely unknown. Here, we infer drainage system transmissivity based on surface uplift relaxation following rapid lake drainage events. Combining field observations of five lake drainage events with a mathematical model and laboratory experiments, we show that the surface uplift decreases exponentially with time, as the water in the blister formed beneath the drained lake permeates through the subglacial drainage system. This deflation obeys a universal relaxation law with a timescale that reveals hydraulic transmissivity and indicates a two-order-of-magnitude increase in subglacial transmissivity (from 0.8 ± 0.3 mm3 to 215 ± 90.2 mm3) as the melt season progresses, suggesting significant changes in basal hydrology beneath the lakes driven by seasonal meltwater input.
  • 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
    High (3)He/(4)He in central Panama reveals a distal connection to the Galápagos plume
    (National Academy of Sciences, 2021-11-23) Bekaert, David V. ; Gazel, Esteban ; Turner, Stephen ; Behn, Mark D. ; de Moor, J. Maarten ; Zahirovic, Sabin ; Manea, Vlad C. ; Hoernle, Kaj A. ; Fischer, Tobias P. ; Hammerstrom, Alexander ; Seltzer, Alan M. ; Kulongoski, Justin T. ; Patel, Bina S. ; Schrenk, Matthew O. ; Halldórsson, Saemundur ; Nakagawa, Mayuko ; Ramírez, Carlos J. ; Krantz, John A. ; Yucel, Mustafa ; Ballentine, Christopher J. ; Giovannelli, Donato ; Lloyd, Karen G. ; Barry, Peter H.
    It is well established that mantle plumes are the main conduits for upwelling geochemically enriched material from Earth's deep interior. The fashion and extent to which lateral flow processes at shallow depths may disperse enriched mantle material far (>1,000 km) from vertical plume conduits, however, remain poorly constrained. Here, we report He and C isotope data from 65 hydrothermal fluids from the southern Central America Margin (CAM) which reveal strikingly high 3He/4He (up to 8.9RA) in low-temperature (≤50 °C) geothermal springs of central Panama that are not associated with active volcanism. Following radiogenic correction, these data imply a mantle source 3He/4He >10.3RA (and potentially up to 26RA, similar to Galápagos hotspot lavas) markedly greater than the upper mantle range (8 ± 1RA). Lava geochemistry (Pb isotopes, Nb/U, and Ce/Pb) and geophysical constraints show that high 3He/4He values in central Panama are likely derived from the infiltration of a Galápagos plume–like mantle through a slab window that opened ∼8 Mya. Two potential transport mechanisms can explain the connection between the Galápagos plume and the slab window: 1) sublithospheric transport of Galápagos plume material channeled by lithosphere thinning along the Panama Fracture Zone or 2) active upwelling of Galápagos plume material blown by a “mantle wind” toward the CAM. We present a model of global mantle flow that supports the second mechanism, whereby most of the eastward transport of Galápagos plume material occurs in the shallow asthenosphere. These findings underscore the potential for lateral mantle flow to transport mantle geochemical heterogeneities thousands of kilometers away from plume conduits.
  • Article
    WISTFUL: whole‐rock interpretative seismic toolbox for ultramafic lithologies
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-08-11) Shinevar, William J. ; Jagoutz, Oliver ; Behn, Mark D.
    To quantitatively convert upper mantle seismic wave speeds measured into temperature, density, composition, and corresponding and uncertainty, we introduce the Whole-rock Interpretative Seismic Toolbox For Ultramafic Lithologies (WISTFUL). WISTFUL is underpinned by a database of 4,485 ultramafic whole-rock compositions, their calculated mineral modes, elastic moduli, and seismic wave speeds over a range of pressure (P) and temperature (T) (P = 0.5–6 GPa, T = 200–1,600°C) using the Gibbs free energy minimization routine Perple_X. These data are interpreted with a toolbox of MATLAB® functions, scripts, and three general user interfaces: WISTFUL_relations, which plots relationships between calculated parameters and/or composition; WISTFUL_geotherms, which calculates seismic wave speeds along geotherms; and WISTFUL_inversion, which inverts seismic wave speeds for best-fit temperature, composition, and density. To evaluate our methodology and quantify the forward calculation error, we estimate two dominant sources of uncertainty: (a) the predicted mineral modes and compositions, and (b) the elastic properties and mixing equations. To constrain the first source of uncertainty, we compiled 122 well-studied ultramafic xenoliths with known whole-rock compositions, mineral modes, and estimated P-T conditions. We compared the observed mineral modes with modes predicted using five different thermodynamic solid solution models. The Holland et al. (2018, solution models best reproduce phase assemblages (∼12 vol. % phase root-mean-square error [RMSE]) and estimated wave speeds. To assess the second source of uncertainty, we compared wave speed measurements of 40 ultramafic rocks with calculated wave speeds, finding excellent agreement (Vp RMSE = 0.11 km/s). WISTFUL easily analyzes seismic datasets, integrates into modeling, and acts as an educational tool.
  • Article
    Mantle thermochemical variations beneath the continental United States through petrologic interpretation of seismic tomography
    (Elsevier, 2023-01-04) Shinevar, William J. ; Golos, Eva M. ; Jagoutz, Oliver ; Behn, Mark D. ; van der Hilst, Robert D.
    The continental lithospheric mantle plays an essential role in stabilizing continents over long geological time scales. Quantifying spatial variations in thermal and compositional properties of the mantle lithosphere is crucial to understanding its formation and its impact on continental stability; however, our understanding of these variations remains limited. Here we apply the Whole-rock Interpretive Seismic Toolbox For Ultramafic Lithologies (WISTFUL) to estimate thermal, compositional, and density variations in the continental mantle beneath the contiguous United States from MITPS_20, a joint body and surface wave tomographic inversion for Vp and Vs with high resolution in the shallow mantle (60–100 km). Our analysis shows lateral variations in temperature beneath the continental United States of up to 800–900°C at 60, 80, and 100 km depth. East of the Rocky Mountains, the mantle lithosphere is generally cold (350–850°C at 60 km), with higher temperatures (up to 1000°C at 60 km) along the Atlantic coastal margin. By contrast, the mantle lithosphere west of the Rocky Mountains is hot (typically >1000°C at 60 km, >1200°C at 80–100 km), with the highest temperatures beneath Holocene volcanoes. In agreement with previous work, we find that the chemical depletion predicted by WISTFUL does not fully offset the density difference due to temperature. Extending our results using Rayleigh-Taylor instability analysis, implies the lithosphere below the United States could be undergoing oscillatory convection, in which cooling, densification, and sinking of a chemically buoyant layer alternates with reheating and rising of that layer.•MITPS_20, a continental US tomographic model, is interpreted in terms of temperature, composition, and density.•Our method predicts temperatures of 260–1430°C, Mg# of 85–92, and density between 3230–3370 kgm−3 between 60–100 km.•Predicted compositional buoyancy of the mantle lithosphere compensates only part (40%) of the negative thermal buoyancy.