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Detailed volcanic geology of the MARNOK area, Mid-Atlantic Ridge north of Kane transform

Lawson, Kate, Searle, Roger C., Pearce, Julian A., Browning, Paul and Kempton, Pamela 1996. Detailed volcanic geology of the MARNOK area, Mid-Atlantic Ridge north of Kane transform. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 118 (1) , pp. 61-102. 10.1144/gsl.sp.1996.118.01.05

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We present the results of a detailed study of the volcanic geology of the median valley floor of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in two adjacent but contrasting spreading segments immediately north of the Kane transform fault, based on a high-resolution deep-towed sidescan sonar (TOBI) survey, near-bottom photographic traverses, and geochemical analyses from 28 precisely sited sets of dredge samples. This has allowed us to assess the relative importance of small (intersegment) and large (transform) boundaries on magmatic processes at slow spreading ridges. We find that the petrological effect of the transform (so-called ‘transform fault effect’) is minor compared to the manifestation of the second-order segmentation. The southern, ‘narrowgate’-type segment has a poorly developed neovolcanic zone, which tapers towards its bathymetric centre where continuous faulting causes rapid dismemberment. Flat-topped seamounts are preferentially located at the ends of the segment, particularly near the non-transform offset. There is a striking variation in the degree of fractionation along the length of this segment: primitive lavas were sampled at the centre, while more fractionated basalts, showing a greater range of parental compositions, form discrete volcanic edifices at the ends. In contrast, the northern segment has a wider inner valley, and syn-magmatic faults extend up to 15 km along the crest of its robust axial volcanic ridge. The along-segment trend of increasing MgO towards the bathymetric crest of the axial volcanic ridge is similar to, but less well-defined than, that for the southern segment. There is no variation in the bulk degree of melting along the segments as determined from the major element geochemistry; hence, melt migration is favoured over focused mantle upwelling as the main cause of the crustal thickness variations which define second-order segmentation. Radigenic isotopes show only very small variations with no systematic pattern emerging within or between the ridge segments. The isotopic irregularities are not related to the variations in incompatible elements, implying that the latter result from dynamic melting processes rather than from long-lived source heterogeneity. A model is developed which relates the volcanology, tectonic style and the geochemical trends to the episodicity of magma supply and eruption.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
ISSN: 0305-8719
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:04

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