Magnetization of 0–29 Ma ocean crust on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 25°30′ to 27°10′N
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A sea-surface magnetic survey over the west flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from 0 to 29 Ma crust encompasses several spreading segments and documents the evolution of crustal magnetization in slowly accreted crust. We find that magnetization decays rapidly within the first few million years, although the filtering effect of water depth on the sea-surface data and the slow spreading rate (<13 km/m.y.) preclude us from resolving this decay rate. A distinctly asymmetric, along-axis pattern of crustal magnetization is rapidly attenuated off-axis, suggesting that magnetization dominated by extrusive lavas on-axis is reduced off-axis to a background value. Off-axis, we find a statistically significant correlation between crustal magnetization and apparent crustal thickness with thin crust tending to be more positively magnetized than thicker crust, indicative of induced magnetization in thin inside corner (IC) crust. In general, we find that off-axis segment ends show an induced magnetization component regardless of polarity and that IC segment ends tend to have slightly more induced component compared with outside corner (OC) segment ends, possibly due to serpentinized uppermost mantle at IC ends. We find that remanent magnetization is also reduced at segment ends, but there is no correlation with inside or outside corner crust, even though they have very different crustal thicknesses. This indicates that remanent magnetization off-axis is independent of crustal thickness, bulk composition, and the presence or absence of extrusives. Remanence reduction at segment ends is thought to be primarily due to alteration of lower crust in OC crust and a combination of crustal thinning and alteration in IC crust. From all these observations, we infer that the remanent magnetization of extrusive crust is strongly attenuated off-axis, and that magnetization of the lower crust may be the dominant source for off-axis magnetic anomalies.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 1998. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 103, No. B8 (1998): 17807–17826, doi:10.1029/98JB01394.