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Seismic zones, river deltas, landslides, fossil reptiles, and more new Geology science
Date:3/6/2012

or. This transition is controlled at the spreading ridge crest by a balance between rapid hydrothermal cooling by circulating seawater above and by slow cooling of molten magma below. Faulting plays only a minor role in this mode of spreading. In the Atlantic, rates of seafloor spreading are much slower and the ocean crust is much more heterogeneous. A new "detachment mode" of seafloor spreading has recently been discovered in which extension is controlled by movement on long-lived, convex-up detachment faults, and the degree of magmatic extension is more limited. These detachment faults raise mantle rocks and slowly cooled gabbros to be exposed on the seafloor. McCaig and Harris present evidence from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) in the Atlantic that a dike-gabbro transition can be located within a detachment fault and exhumed to the seafloor. Movement on the fault increases permeability and localizes hydrothermal circulation in the fault zone, and this prevents the gabbroic magma from rising to high levels. These dike-gabbro transitions are therefore controlled by a balance between hydrothermal circulation and magmatism, just as in the Pacific, but lead to very different crustal structures.


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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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