Structure and origin of the J Anomaly Ridge, western North Atlantic Ocean
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The J Anomaly Ridge is a structural ridge or step in oceanic basement that extends southwest from the eastern end of the Grand Banks. It lies beneath the J magnetic anomaly at the young end (M-4 to M-0) of the M series magnetic anomalies. Its structural counterpart beneath the J anomaly in the eastern Atlantic is the Madeira-Tore Rise, but this feature has been overprinted by post-middle Cretaceous deformation and volcanism. In order to study the origin and evolution of the J Anomaly Ridge-Madeira-Tore Rise system, we obtained seismic refraction and multichannel reflection profiles across the J Anomaly Ridge near 39°N latitude. The western ridge flank consists of a series of crustal blocks downdropped along west-dipping normal faults, but the eastern slope to younger crust is gentle and relatively unfaulted. The western flank also is subparallel to seafloor isochrons, becoming younger to the south. Anomalously smooth basement caps the ridge crest, and it locally exhibits internal, eastward-dipping reflectors similar in configuration to those within subaerially emplaced basalt flows on Iceland. When isostatically corrected for sediment load, the northern part of the J Anomaly Ridge has basement depths about 1400 m shallower than in our study area, and deep sea drilling has shown that the northern ridge was subaerially exposed during the middle Cretaceous. We suggest that most of the system originated under subaerial conditions at the time of late-stage rifting between the adjacent Grand Banks and Iberia. The excess magma required to form the ridge may have been vented from a mantle plume beneath the Grand Banks-Iberia rift zone and channelled southward beneath the rift axis of the abutting Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Resulting edifice-building volcanism constructed the ridge system between anomalies M-4 and M-0, moving southward along the ridge axis at about 50 mm/yr. About M-0 time, when true drift began between Iberia and the Grand Banks, this southward venting rapidly declined. The results were rapid return of the spreading axis to normal elevations, division of the ridge system into the separate J Anomaly Ridge and Madeira-Tore Rise, and unusually fast subsidence of at least parts of these ridges to depths that presently are near normal. This proposed origin and evolutionary sequence for the J Anomaly Ridge-Madeira-Tore Rise system closely matches events of uplift and unconformity development on the adjacent Grand Banks.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 1982. 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 87, no. B11 (1982): 9389–9407, doi:10.1029/JB087iB11p09389.