Behn Mark D.

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Mark D.

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  • 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
    Morphology and segmentation of the western Galápagos Spreading Center, 90.5°–98°W : plume-ridge interaction at an intermediate spreading ridge
    (American Geophysical Union, 2003-12-13) Sinton, John M. ; Detrick, Robert S. ; Canales, J. Pablo ; Ito, Garrett T. ; Behn, Mark D.
    Complete multibeam bathymetric coverage of the western Galápagos Spreading Center (GSC) between 90.5°W and 98°W reveals the fine-scale morphology, segmentation and influence of the Galápagos hot spot on this intermediate spreading ridge. The western GSC comprises three morphologically defined provinces: A Western Province, located farthest from the Galápagos hot spot west of 95°30′W, is characterized by an axial deep, rift valley morphology with individual, overlapping, E-W striking segments separated by non-transform offsets; A Middle Province, between the propagating rift tips at 93°15′W and 95°30′W, with transitional axial morphology strikes ∼276°; An Eastern Province, closest to the Galápagos hot spot between the ∼90°50′W Galápagos Transform and 93°15′W, with an axial high morphology generally less than 1800 m deep, strikes ∼280°. At a finer scale, the axial region consists of 32 individual segments defined on the basis of smaller, mainly <2 km, offsets. These offsets mainly step left in the Western and Middle Provinces, and right in the Eastern Province. Glass compositions indicate that the GSC is segmented magmatically into 8 broad regions, with Mg # generally decreasing to the west within each region. Striking differences in bathymetric and lava fractionation patterns between the propagating rifts with tips at 93°15′W and 95°30′W reflect lower overall magma supply and larger offset distance at the latter. The structure of the Eastern Province is complicated by the intersection of a series of volcanic lineaments that appear to radiate away from a point located on the northern edge of the Galápagos platform, close to the southern limit of the Galápagos Fracture Zone. Where these lineaments intersect the GSC, the ridge axis is displaced to the south through a series of overlapping spreading centers (OSCs); abandoned OSC limbs lie even farther south. We propose that southward displacement of the axis is promoted during intermittent times of increased plume activity, when lithospheric zones of weakness become volcanically active. Following cessation of the increased plume activity, the axis straightens by decapitating southernmost OSC limbs during short-lived propagation events. This process contributes to the number of right stepping offsets in the Eastern Province.
  • Article
    Effects of variable magma supply on mid-ocean ridge eruptions : constraints from mapped lava flow fields along the Galápagos Spreading Center
    (American Geophysical Union, 2012-08-25) Colman, Alice ; Sinton, John M. ; White, Scott M. ; McClinton, J. Timothy ; Bowles, Julie A. ; Rubin, Kenneth H. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Cushman, Buffy ; Eason, Deborah E. ; Gregg, Tracy K. P. ; Gronvold, Karl ; Hidalgo, Silvana ; Howell, Julia ; Neill, Owen ; Russo, Chris
    Mapping and sampling of 18 eruptive units in two study areas along the Galápagos Spreading Center (GSC) provide insight into how magma supply affects mid-ocean ridge (MOR) volcanic eruptions. The two study areas have similar spreading rates (53 versus 55 mm/yr), but differ by 30% in the time-averaged rate of magma supply (0.3 × 106 versus 0.4 × 106 m3/yr/km). Detailed geologic maps of each study area incorporate observations of flow contacts and sediment thickness, in addition to sample petrology, geomagnetic paleointensity, and inferences from high-resolution bathymetry data. At the lower-magma-supply study area, eruptions typically produce irregularly shaped clusters of pillow mounds with total eruptive volumes ranging from 0.09 to 1.3 km3. At the higher-magma-supply study area, lava morphologies characteristic of higher effusion rates are more common, eruptions typically occur along elongated fissures, and eruptive volumes are an order of magnitude smaller (0.002–0.13 km3). At this site, glass MgO contents (2.7–8.4 wt. %) and corresponding liquidus temperatures are lower on average, and more variable, than those at the lower-magma-supply study area (6.2–9.1 wt. % MgO). The differences in eruptive volume, lava temperature, morphology, and inferred eruption rates observed between the two areas along the GSC are similar to those that have previously been related to variable spreading rates on the global MOR system. Importantly, the documentation of multiple sequences of eruptions at each study area, representing hundreds to thousands of years, provides constraints on the variability in eruptive style at a given magma supply and spreading rate.
  • Article
    Controls on melt migration and extraction at the ultraslow Southwest Indian Ridge 10°–16°E
    (American Geophysical Union, 2011-10-04) Montesi, Laurent G. J. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Hebert, Laura B. ; Lin, Jian ; Barry, Jennifer L.
    Crustal thickness variations at the ultraslow spreading 10–16°E region of the Southwest Indian Ridge are used to constrain melt migration processes. In the study area, ridge morphology correlates with the obliquity of the ridge axis with respect to the spreading direction. A long oblique “supersegment”, nearly devoid of magmatism, is flanked at either end by robust magmatic centers (Joseph Mayes Seamount and Narrowgate segment) of much lesser obliquity. Plate-driven mantle flow and temperature structure are calculated in 3-D based on the observed ridge segmentation. Melt extraction is assumed to occur in three steps: (1) vertical migration out of the melting region, (2) focusing along an inclined permeability barrier, and (3) extraction when the melt enters a region shallower than ∼35 km within 5 km of the ridge axis. No crust is predicted in our model along the oblique supersegment. The formation of Joseph Mayes Seamount is consistent with an on-axis melt anomaly induced by the local orthogonal spreading. The crustal thickness anomaly at Narrowgate results from melt extracted at a tectonic damage zone as it travels along the axis toward regions of lesser obliquity. Orthogonal spreading enhances the Narrowgate crustal thickness anomaly but is not necessary for it. The lack of a residual mantle Bouguer gravity high along the oblique supersegment can be explained by deep serpentization of the upper mantle permissible by the thermal structure of this ridge segment. Buoyancy-driven upwelling and/or mantle heterogeneities are not required to explain the extreme focusing of melt in the study area.
  • Article
    Thermal structure of oceanic transform faults
    (Geological Society of America, 2007-04) Behn, Mark D. ; Boettcher, Margaret S. ; Hirth, Greg
    We use three-dimensional finite element simulations to investigate the temperature structure beneath oceanic transform faults. We show that using a rheology that incorporates brittle weakening of the lithosphere generates a region of enhanced mantle upwelling and elevated temperatures along the transform; the warmest temperatures and thinnest lithosphere are predicted to be near the center of the transform. Previous studies predicted that the mantle beneath oceanic transform faults is anomalously cold relative to adjacent intraplate regions, with the thickest lithosphere located at the center of the transform. These earlier studies used simplified rheologic laws to simulate the behavior of the lithosphere and underlying asthenosphere. We show that the warmer thermal structure predicted by our calculations is directly attributed to the inclusion of a more realistic brittle rheology. This temperature structure is consistent with a wide range of observations from ridge-transform environments, including the depth of seismicity, geochemical anomalies along adjacent ridge segments, and the tendency for long transforms to break into small intratransform spreading centers during changes in plate motion.
  • Article
    MeltMigrator : a MATLAB-based software for modeling three-dimensional melt migration and crustal thickness variations at mid-ocean ridges following a rules-based approach
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-01-22) Bai, Hailong ; Montesi, Laurent G. J. ; Behn, Mark D.
    MeltMigrator is a MATLAB®-based melt migration software developed to process three-dimensional mantle temperature and velocity data from user-supplied numerical models of mid-ocean ridges, calculate melt production and melt migration trajectories in the mantle, estimate melt flux along plate boundaries, and predict crustal thickness distribution on the seafloor. MeltMigrator is also capable of calculating compositional evolution depending on the choice of petrologic melting model. Programmed in modules, MeltMigrator is highly customizable and can be expanded to a wide range of applications. We have applied it to complex mid-ocean ridge model settings, including transform faults, oblique segments, ridge migration, asymmetrical spreading, background mantle flow, and ridge-plume interaction. In this technical report, we include an example application to a segmented mid-ocean ridge. MeltMigrator is available as a supplement to this paper, and it is also available from GitHub and the University of Maryland Geodynamics Group website.
  • Article
    Magmatic and tectonic extension at mid-ocean ridges : 1. Controls on fault characteristics
    (American Geophysical Union, 2008-08-02) Behn, Mark D. ; Ito, Garrett T.
    We use 2-D numerical models to explore the thermal and mechanical effects of magma intrusion on fault initiation and growth at slow and intermediate spreading ridges. Magma intrusion is simulated by widening a vertical column of model elements located within the lithosphere at a rate equal to a fraction, M, of the total spreading rate (i.e., M = 1 for fully magmatic spreading). Heat is added in proportion to the rate of intrusion to simulate the thermal effects of magma crystallization and the injection of hot magma into the crust. We examine a range of intrusion rates and axial thermal structures by varying M, spreading rate, and the efficiency of crustal cooling by conduction and hydrothermal circulation. Fault development proceeds in a sequential manner, with deformation focused on a single active normal fault whose location alternates between the two sides of the ridge axis. Fault spacing and heave are primarily sensitive to M and secondarily sensitive to axial lithosphere thickness and the rate that the lithosphere thickens with distance from the axis. Contrary to what is often cited in the literature, but consistent with prior results of mechanical modeling, we find that thicker axial lithosphere tends to reduce fault spacing and heave. In addition, fault spacing and heave are predicted to increase with decreasing rates of off-axis lithospheric thickening. The combination of low M, particularly when M approaches 0.5, as well as a reduced rate of off-axis lithospheric thickening produces long-lived, large-offset faults, similar to oceanic core complexes. Such long-lived faults produce a highly asymmetric axial thermal structure, with thinner lithosphere on the side with the active fault. This across-axis variation in thermal structure may tend to stabilize the active fault for longer periods of time and could concentrate hydrothermal circulation in the footwall of oceanic core complexes.