Marine Transform Faults and Fracture Zones: A Joint Perspective Integrating Seismicity, Fluid Flow and Life

Type Article
Date 2019-03
Language English
Author(s) Hensen Christian1, Duarte Joao C.2, Vannucchi Paola3, 4, Mazzini Adriano5, Lever Mark A.6, Terrinha Pedro2, 7, Géli LouisORCID8, Henry Pierre9, Villinger Heinrich10, Morgan Jason3, Schmidt Mark1, Gutscher Marc-Andre11, Bartolome Rafael12, Tomonaga Yama13, Polonia Alina14, Gràcia Eulàlia12, Tinivella Umberta15, Lupi Matteo16, Çağatay M. Namık17, Elvert Marcus18, Sakellariou Dimitris19, Matias Luis2, Kipfer Rolf13, Karageorgis Aristomenis P.19, Ruffine LivioORCID8, Liebetrau Volker1, Pierre Catherine20, Schmidt Christopher1, Batista Luis2, 7, Gasperini Luca14, Burwicz Ewa1, Neres Marta2, 7, Nuzzo Marianne21
Affiliation(s) 1 : GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
2 : Instituto Dom Luiz (IDL), Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
3 : Earth Sciences Department, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, United Kingdom
4 : Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Firenze, Firenze, Italy
5 : Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED), University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
6 : Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
7 : IPMA- Portuguese Institute for Atmosphere and Ocean, Lisbon, Portugal
8 : Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), Département Ressources Physiques et Ecosystèmes de Fond de Mer, Unité des Géosciences Marines, Plouzané, France
9 : Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD, INRA, Coll France, CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France
10 : Department of Geosciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
11 : CNRS, IUEM, Laboratoire Géosciences Océan, University of Western Brittany, Brest, France
12 : Barcelona-CSI, Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), Barcelona, Spain
13 : Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland
14 : CNR, Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR), Bologna, Italy
15 : Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Trieste, Italy
16 : Department of Earth Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
17 : EMCOL and Faculty of Mining, Department of Geological Engineering, İstanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
18 : MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
19 : Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Oceanography, Anavyssos, Greece
20 : LOCEAN, UPMC, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France
21 : Integrated Geochemical Interpretation Ltd., The Granary, Hallsannery, Bideford, United Kingdom
Source Frontiers In Earth Science (2296-6463) (Frontiers Media SA), 2019-03 , Vol. 7 , N. 39 , P. 29p.
DOI 10.3389/feart.2019.00039
WOS© Times Cited 11
Keyword(s) transform faults, fractures zones, coupling of seismicity and fluid flow, microbial life, heat flow, fluid geochemistry, seafloor observation systems, seismic precursors

Marine transform faults and associated fracture zones (MTFFZs) cover vast stretches of the ocean floor, where they play a key role in plate tectonics, accommodating the lateral movement of tectonic plates and allowing connections between ridges and trenches. Together with the continental counterparts of MTFFZs, these structures also pose a risk to human societies as they can generate high magnitude earthquakes and trigger tsunamis. Historical examples are the Sumatra-Wharton Basin Earthquake in 2012 (M8.6) and the Atlantic Gloria Fault Earthquake in 1941 (M8.4). Earthquakes at MTFFZs furthermore open and sustain pathways for fluid flow triggering reactions with the host rocks that may permanently change the rheological properties of the oceanic lithosphere. In fact, they may act as conduits mediating vertical fluid flow and leading to elemental exchanges between Earth’s mantle and overlying sediments. Chemicals transported upward in MTFFZs include energy substrates, such as H2 and volatile hydrocarbons, which then sustain chemosynthetic, microbial ecosystems at and below the seafloor. Moreover, up- or downwelling of fluids within the complex system of fractures and seismogenic faults along MTFFZs could modify earthquake cycles and/or serve as “detectors” for changes in the stress state during interseismic phases. Despite their likely global importance, the large areas where transform faults and fracture zones occur are still underexplored, as are the coupling mechanisms between seismic activity, fluid flow, and life. This manuscript provides an interdisciplinary review and synthesis of scientific progress at or related to MTFFZs and specifies approaches and strategies to deepen the understanding of processes that trigger, maintain, and control fluid flow at MTFFZs.

Full Text
File Pages Size Access
Publisher's official version 29 10 MB Open access
Top of the page

How to cite 

Hensen Christian, Duarte Joao C., Vannucchi Paola, Mazzini Adriano, Lever Mark A., Terrinha Pedro, Géli Louis, Henry Pierre, Villinger Heinrich, Morgan Jason, Schmidt Mark, Gutscher Marc-Andre, Bartolome Rafael, Tomonaga Yama, Polonia Alina, Gràcia Eulàlia, Tinivella Umberta, Lupi Matteo, Çağatay M. Namık, Elvert Marcus, Sakellariou Dimitris, Matias Luis, Kipfer Rolf, Karageorgis Aristomenis P., Ruffine Livio, Liebetrau Volker, Pierre Catherine, Schmidt Christopher, Batista Luis, Gasperini Luca, Burwicz Ewa, Neres Marta, Nuzzo Marianne (2019). Marine Transform Faults and Fracture Zones: A Joint Perspective Integrating Seismicity, Fluid Flow and Life. Frontiers In Earth Science, 7(39), 29p. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :