Origin of volcanism on the flanks of the Pacific-Antarctic ridge between 41°30'S and 52°S

Type Article
Date 2009-09-01
Language English
Author(s) Briais Anne1, Ondreas Helene2, Klingelhoefer FraukeORCID2, Dosso Laure2, Hamelin Cedric3, Guillou Herve4
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Toulouse, CNRS, LDTP, Observ Midi Pyrenees, F-31400 Toulouse, France.
2 : IFREMER, UMR 6538, CNRS, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
3 : UBO, IUEM, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
4 : CNRS, Lab Sci Climat & Environm, F-91198 Gif Sur Yvette, France.
Source Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (1525-2027) (American Geophysical Union), 2009-09-01 , Vol. 10 , N. 9 , P. 1-20
DOI 10.1029/2008GC002350
WOS© Times Cited 9
Keyword(s) mid ocean ridges, off axis volcanism, mantle convection, plate kinematics, transform fault
Abstract Non-hot spot, intraplate volcanism is a common feature near the East Pacific Rise or Pacific-Antarctic ridge. Volcanic ridges and seamount chains, tens to hundreds of kilometers long, are asymmetrically distributed about the ridge axis, with most volcanic features occurring on the Pacific plate. Their origins remain controversial. We have analyzed off-axis volcanic ridges near the Pacific-Antarctic ridge from bathymetry, backscatter, gravity, and geochemistry data of the Pacantarctic 2 cruise. K/Ar dating of samples dredged on these structures reveals a contrast of up to 3 Ma between the volcanoes and the underlying crust. The volcanic activity, as suggested by the strong backscatter in sonar images, appears to be limited to areas of seafloor younger than about 3 Ma. All surveyed ridges north of the Menard transform fault (TF) show recent activity close to the ridge axis and are not affected by faults. The off-axis volcanic ridges south of the Menard TF show recent volcanic flows in their center and are affected by N-S extension. Two different types of volcanoes can be characterized: conical, flat-topped ones and rough, elongated ones associated with narrow, E-W trending volcanic ridges, some of them showing strong backscattering on the EM12 imagery. From the morphology of the seamount chains and the ages of the lava samples, we infer that the magma source for the volcanic ridges is related to the feeding of the ridge axis through three-dimensional mantle convective circulation. We suggest that a change in the relative plate motion since about 5 Ma might have induced an offset of the mantle upwelling circulation under the ridge axis so that anomalously hot mantle rises under the Pacific ridge flank. The kinematic change is also likely responsible for the tectonic deformation in the young lithosphere south of Menard TF.
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