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January GEOLOGY media highlights
Date:1/8/2009

plate boundary zone is similarly offshore. The high-precision slip rates are derived for the southern, submarine part of the Alpine fault, New Zealand. The derivation of slip rate is innovative, utilizing dextral offsets of relict and dated last-glacial geomorphology imaged in high-quality multibeam bathymetric data. Such technology now provides an opportunity to image at high resolution the tectonic geomorphology associated with major submarine faults, at a precision now comparable to routinely available topographic data sets. Analysis of the displacements rates involves robust statistical treatment of the data. The post-glacial slip rate is determined to vary along strike from 27 mm/year in northern Fiordland to 31 mm/year off central Fiordland. These rates represent some of the highest strike-slip rates on Earth, and have implications for kinematic models of plate boundary deformation.


Abrupt transition from magma-starved to magma-rich rifting in the eastern Black Sea

Donna J. Shillington et al., Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, New York 10964, USA. Pages 7-10.

Continental breakup is a fundamental part of the plate tectonic cycle whereby continents rift apart and new oceans are formed. When a continent ruptures, magma can be generated at depth and released at the surface, but the amount of magma released can vary substantially, even along individual rifts. There are extensive observations of the most and least magmatic rifts, and well-developed theories to explain them, but until now no direct observations of the transition between them. Shillington et al. present new geophysical data from the eastern Black Sea that show for the first time the transition from a rift where there was almost no magma to a rift where there was voluminous magma. Surprisingly, this transition is very sharp, which indicates that magmas must be focused from a broad area at depth to create an abru
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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
303-357-1093
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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