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Theses Doctoral

Earthquake and volcanic processes at mid-ocean ridges

Tan, Yen Joe

In this thesis, I present results that broadly fall into two themes. The first involves understanding active tectonic and magmatic processes at mid-ocean ridges. The second involves using small stress changes due to the tides to probe earthquake processes at mid-ocean ridges. The four main results of my thesis are as follow: (1) The spatiotemporal evolution of an eruption at a fast-spreading mid-ocean ridge, the East Pacific Rise, is now characterized and understood to be mainly controlled by the buildup of tectonic stress to a critical level rather than magma overpressure. (2) Microearthquakes at the East Pacific Rise are found to be strongly modulated by tides in the years before an eruption but not immediately after the eruption, suggesting the potential utility of tidal triggering strength for eruption forecasting. (3) Earthquake size-frequency distribution, often quantified using the b value, is shown to vary systematically with tidal stresses which lends support to the use of earthquake b value as an in-situ stressmeter. (4) The 2015 Axial Seamount eruption is revealed to be preceded by variable rates of melt influx into the shallow reservoir, highlighting the short-timescale variability of magmatic systems as they are primed for an eruption.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Tolstoy, Maya
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 31, 2019