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Research Highlights - East Pacific Rise 9°N


2001 Cruise

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Central Anomaly Magnetization High: Constraints on the Volcanic Construction and Architecture of Seismic Layer 2A at a Fast-Spreading Mid-Ocean Ridge, the EPR at 9°30'-50'N

Hans Schouten1, Maurice A. Tivey1, Daniel J. Fornari1, James R. Cochran2

1Department of Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA

2Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA

Published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 169, 37-50, 1999.

The central anomaly magnetization high (CAMH) is a zone of high crustal magnetization centered on the axis of the East Pacific Rise (EPR) and many other segments of the global mid-ocean ridge (MOR). The CAMH is thought to reflect the presence of recently emplaced and highly magnetic lavas. Forward models show that the complicated character of the near-bottom CAMH can be successfully reproduced by the convolution of a lava deposition distribution with a lava mag-netization function that describes the variation in lava magnetization intensity with age. This lava magnetization function is the product of geomagnetic paleofield intensity, which has increased by a factor of 2 over the last 40 kyr, and low-tem-perature alteration which decreases the remanence of lava with exposure to seawater. The success of the forward modeling justifies the inverse approach: deconvolution of the magnetic data for lava distribution and integration of that distribution for magnetic layer thickness. This approach is tested on two near-bottom magnetic profiles AL2767 and AL2771, collected using Alvin across the EPR axis at 9º31' N and 9º50' N. Our analysis of these data produces an estimate of the relative thick-ness of the magnetic lava layer which is remarkably consistent with existing multichannel estimates of layer 2A thickness from lines CDP31 and CDP27. The similarity between magnetic layer and seismic layer 2A at the 9º-10ºN segment of the EPR crest provides independent support to the notion that seismic layer 2A in young oceanic crust represents the highly magnetic lava layer, and that the velocity gradient at the base of layer 2A is related to the increasing number of higher-velocity dikes with depth in the lava-dike transition zone. The near-bottom magnetic anomaly character of the CAMH is a powerful indicator of the emplacement history of upper crust at MORs which allows prediction of the relative thickness and architecture of the extrusive lavas independent of other constraints.


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