Theses Doctoral

Signatures of present and past melt distribution along fast and intermediate spreading centers

Marjanovic, Milena

The work presented in this dissertation depicts past and present signatures of melt distribution at fast and intermediate spreading centers. The primary goal of the studies included in this thesis is to provide better understanding of melt distribution and variation in melt physical properties within and at the base of oceanic crust formed at these spreading centers. Furthermore, this work examines effects that melt presence might have on formation and structural characteristics of oceanic crust. To explore the above we use geophysical data collected during two expeditions conducted along the Juan de Fuca Ridge (intermediate) and the East Pacific Rise (fast). The major part of the thesis is based on the work conducted on high resolution reflection seismic data that investigate present day intracrustal melt distribution along the East Pacific Rise (EPR) axis extending between 8º20’ and 10º10’N. Here, the character of the melt reservoir is examined from different aspects and by using different seismic data analysis methods. By systematic analysis of the seismic reflection data, we show that the axial melt lens (AML) is segmented at different segment scales. Locations of the mapped disruptions in the AML correspond to previously identified tectonic discontinuities well expressed in the seafloor bathymetry. The above result corroborates genetic relationship between tectonic and magmatic segmentation. To examine melt distribution along the EPR, here for the first time we use amplitude variation with angle of incidence (AVA) crossplotting technique that was developed by oil and gas industry experts to look for presence of hydrocarbons. Further data examination for the first time for the mid-ocean ridges show presence of deeper lenses (lenses that are present below the AML). Presence of gaps in these sub-events and their collocation with what is believed to be the location of origin of the last documented eruption occurred in 2005-06, may shed light on the mechanisms behind the mid-ocean ridges volcanic processes. To explore variation in crustal structure and melt distribution at present day along the Juan de Fuca Ridge and relicts of past melt presence near ridge propagators wakes, a combination of gravity and multi-channel seismic data was used. Gravity modeling, constrained by seismic data, showed that robust topography (shallow axial depth and wide axial high) and thicker crust observed for the southern portion of this ridge system originate from enhanced melt supply at the base of the crust. In addition, prominent crustal thickening on the younger crust side of the inner propagators wakes (now on the ridge flanks) is brought into relationship with collocated frozen magma lenses imaged at the base of the crust. Spatial relationship of the two argues for their causal relationship at the time of the crustal formation on the axis. Our study suggests that these frozen lenses represent the record of once molten reservoir that most probably actively participated in the formation of the thicker crust.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Carbotte, Suzanne
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 19, 2013