The Southeast Indian Ridge between 88°E and 118°E: Variations in crustal accretion at constant spreading rate

Sempere, Jean-Christophe; Cochran, James R.

The temperature of the mantle and the rate of melt production are parameters which play important roles in controlling the style of crustal accretion along mid-ocean ridges. To investigate the variability in crustal accretion that develops in response to variations in mantle temperature, we have conducted a geophysical investigation of the Southeast Indian Ridge (SEIR) between the Amsterdam hotspot and the Australian-Antarctic Discordance (88°E- 118°E). The spreading center deepens by 2100 m from west to east within the study area. Despite a uniform, intermediate spreading rate (69-75 mm yr- 1), the SEIR exhibits the range in axial morphology displayed by the East Pacific Rise and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) and usually associated with variations in spreading rate. The spreading center is characterized by an axial high west of 102°45'E, whereas an axial valley is prevalent east of this longitude. Both the deepening of the ridge axis and the general evolution of axial morphology from an axial high to a rift valley are not uniform. A region of intermediate morphology separates axial highs and MAR-like rift valleys. Local transitions in axial morphology occur in three areas along the ridge axis. The increase in axial depth toward the Australian-Antarctic Discordance may be explained by the thinning of the oceanic crust by ~ 4 km and the change in axial topography. The long-wavelength changes observed along the SEIR can be attributed to a gradient in mantle temperature between regions influenced by the Amsterdam and Kerguelen hot spots and the Australian-Antarctic Discordance. However, local processes, perhaps associated with an heterogeneous mantle or along-axis asthenospheric flow, may give rise to local transitions in axial topography and depth anomalies.

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Also Published In

Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Marine Geology and Geophysics
Published Here
June 25, 2019