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Focused magmatism versus amagmatic spreading along the ultra-slow spreading Southwest Indian Ridge: evidence from TOBI side scan sonar imagery

Sauter, D.; Mendel, V.; Rommevaux-Jestin, C.; Parson, L.M.; Fujimoto, H.; Mevel, C.; Cannat, M.; Tamaki, K.. 2004 Focused magmatism versus amagmatic spreading along the ultra-slow spreading Southwest Indian Ridge: evidence from TOBI side scan sonar imagery. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (Online), 5 (10). Q10K09. 10.1029/2004GC000738

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Abstract/Summary

The analysis of the Towed Ocean Bottom Instrument (TOBI) side scan sonar images along the Southwest Indian Ridge between 63°40′E and 65°40′E reveals strong focusing of magmatic activity and long amagmatic accretionary ridge segments. Fresh-looking volcanic terrains are observed at distinct locations along the axis separated by highly tectonized and sedimented terrains of an along-axis extent as much as 82 km. The largest tectonized section corresponds to a dramatically thin crust area with moderate magnetization anomalies. We suggest that seafloor spreading is mainly amagmatic in this tectonized section of the Southwest Indian Ridge with upper mantle rocks exposed at the seafloor. Amagmatic accretionary ridge segments of such dimensions are quite distinct from what is observed at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge but are also recognized at the Gakkel Ridge and may thus be characteristic of ultra-slow spreading ridges. The correlation between the distribution of fresh-looking volcanic terrains, the occurrence of shallow areas crowned by axial volcanic ridges, and high magnetization values suggests a shallow segmentation of the ridge mainly related to variation in the thickness and/or the intrinsic magnetization of the basaltic source layer. By contrast, strong along-axis variations of the gravity-derived crustal thickness are shrunken in length relative to this shallow segmentation of the ridge and occur only beneath the elevated segments. Adjacent to these elevated segments, small bathymetric swells with fresh-looking volcanic constructions do not correspond to thicker crust areas. This suggests a highly focused melt supply beneath the elevated segments which may feed volcanic constructions up to 60 km from the center of these segments by shallow lateral melt migration in the crust, probably through large dikes. Neither the ultra-slow spreading rate nor the ridge obliquity explains the variation of the magmatic vigor along the ridge. Mantle source heterogeneities together with lower mantle temperatures beneath the easternmost Southwest Indian Ridge could partly control its segmentation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2004GC000738
Date made live: 02 Jun 2005 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/115815

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