Evolution of seismic layer 2B across the Juan de Fuca Ridge from hydrophone streamer 2-D traveltime tomography
Newman, Kori R.
Nedimovic, Mladen R.
Canales, J. Pablo
Carbotte, Suzanne M.
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KeywordLayer 2B evolution; 2-D traveltime tomography; Multichannel seismics; Juan de Fuca Ridge flanks
How oceanic crust evolves has important implications for understanding both subduction earthquake hazards and energy and mass exchange between the Earth's interior and the oceans. Although considerable work has been done characterizing the evolution of seismic layer 2A, there has been little analysis of the processes that affect layer 2B after formation. Here we present high-resolution 2-D tomographic models of seismic layer 2B along ∼300 km long multichannel seismic transects crossing the Endeavour, Northern Symmetric, and Cleft segments of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. These models show that seismic layer 2B evolves rapidly following a different course than layer 2A. The upper layer 2B velocities increase on average by 0.8 km/s and reach a generally constant velocity of 5.2 ± 0.3 km/s within the first 0.5 Myr after crustal formation. This suggests that the strongest impact on layer 2B evolution may be that of mineral precipitation due to “active” hydrothermal circulation centered about the ridge crest and driven by the heat from the axial magma chamber. Variations in upper layer 2B velocity with age at time scales ≥0.5 Ma show correlation about the ridge axis indicating that in the long term, crustal accretion processes affect both sides of the ridge axis in a similar way. Below the 0.5 Ma threshold, differences in 2B velocity are likely imprinted during crustal formation or early crustal evolution. Layer 2B velocities at propagator wakes (5.0 ± 0.2 km/s), where enhanced faulting and cracking are expected, and at areas that coincide with extensional or transtensional faulting are on average slightly slower than in normal mature upper layer 2B. Analysis of the layer 2B velocities from areas where the hydrothermal patterns are known shows that the locations of current and paleohydrothermal discharge and recharge zones are marked by reduced and increased upper layer 2B velocities, respectively. Additionally, the distance between present up-flow and down-flow zones is related to the amount of sediment cover because, as sediment cover increases and basement outcrops become covered, direct pathways from the igneous basement through the seafloor are cut off, forcing convective cells to find alternate paths.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2011. 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 12 (2011): Q05009, doi:10.1029/2010GC003462.