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Non-transform offsets along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge south of the Azores (38N-34N): ultramafic exposures and hosting of hydrothermal vents

Gracia, E.; Charlou, J.L.; Radford-Knoery, J.; Parson, L.M.. 2000 Non-transform offsets along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge south of the Azores (38N-34N): ultramafic exposures and hosting of hydrothermal vents. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 177 (1/2). 89-103. 10.1016/S0012-821X(00)00034-0

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Abstract/Summary

Ten contiguous non-transform offsets (NTOs) along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) south of the Azores (between 38°N and 35°40′N) have been studied in detail using swath bathymetric, acoustic backscatter and deep-tow high-resolution sidescan sonar (TOBI) data. In contrast with discontinuities studied elsewhere at slow-spreading ridges, these left-lateral NTOs are consistently broader and larger, with complex structural fabrics accommodating the offset. They are characterized by a range of elevated and faulted massifs detached from their segment flanks, with an irregular acoustic backscatter pattern. Some of these massifs have been explored and sampled recently during dive cruises revealing that they are composed of upper mantle peridotites and lower crustal rocks, and sometimes associated with high-temperature hydrothermal venting. Water column surveys adjacent to these massifs show high CH4 and low TDM (total dissolvable manganese) concentrations, possibly resulting from the process of serpentinization of ultramafic rocks. The correlation between the shallow dome-like shaped massifs and the high concentrations of CH4 (associated with low levels of Mn) is of particular interest to predict the outcrop of ultramafic rocks within the NTOs where no geological data are available. The exposure of the ultramafic massifs within the NTOs is favored by low magmatic supply and low-angle detachment faulting occurring at segment ends. The pervasive fracturing and faulting at these discontinuities favor circulation of hydrothermal fluids and occurrence of high-temperature vent sites.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/S0012-821X(00)00034-0
ISSN: 0012-821X
Additional Keywords: MID ATLANTIC RIDGE, DISCONTINUITIES, HYDROTHERMAL ACTIVITY, BATHYMETRIC DATA, METHANE, SIDESCAN SONAR, TOBI, MANGANESE,
Date made live: 13 Sep 2004 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/108857

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