Segmentation and eruptive activity along the East Pacific Rise at 16°N, in relation with the nearby Mathematician hotspot

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Le Saout, Morgane
Deschamps, Anne
Soule, Samuel A.
Gente, Pascal
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East Pacific Rise
Axial summit trough
Spreading processes
The 16°N segment of the East Pacific Rise is the most overinflated and shallowest of this fast-spreading ridge, in relation with an important magma flux due to the proximity of the Mathematician hotspot. Here, we analyze the detailed morphology of the axial dome and of the Axial Summit Trough (AST), the lava morphology, and the geometry of fissures and faults, in regard to the attributes of the magma chamber beneath and of the nearby hotspot. The data used are 1 m resolution bathymetry combined with seafloor photos and videos. At the dome summit, the AST is highly segmented by 10 third-order and fourth-order discontinuities over a distance of 30 km. Often, two contiguous and synchronous ASTs coexist. Such a configuration implies a wide (1100 m minimum) zone of diking. The existence of contiguous ASTs, their mobility, their general en echelon arrangement accommodating the bow shape of the axial dome toward the hotspot, plus the existence of a second magma lens under the western half of the summit plateau, clearly reflect the influence of the hotspot on the organization of the spreading system. The different ASTs exhibit contrasted widths and depths. We suggest that narrow ASTs reflect an intense volcanic activity that produces eruptions covering the tectonic features and partially filling the ASTs. AST widening and deepening would indicate a decrease in volcanic activity but with continued dike intrusions at the origin of abundant sets of fissures and faults that are not masked by volcanic deposits.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 15 (2014): 4380–4399, doi:10.1002/2014GC005560.
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Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 15 (2014): 4380–4399
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