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Repeat ridge jumps associated with plume-ridge interaction, melt transport, and ridge migration.

By E. Mittelstaedt, G. Ito and J. van Hunen


Repeated shifts, or jumps, of mid-ocean ridge segments toward nearby hot spots can produce large, long-term changes to the geometry and location of the tectonic plate boundaries. Ridge jumps associated with hot spot–ridge interaction are likely caused by several processes including shear on the base of the plate due to expanding plume material as well as reheating of lithosphere as magma passes through it to feed off-axis volcanism. To study how these processes influence ridge jumps, we use numerical models to simulate 2-D (in cross section) viscous flow of the mantle, viscoplastic deformation of the lithosphere, and melt migration upward from the asthenospheric melting zone, laterally along the base of the lithosphere, and vertically through the lithosphere. The locations and rates that magma penetrates and heats the lithosphere are controlled by the time-varying accumulation of melt beneath the plate and the depth-averaged lithospheric porosity. We examine the effect of four key parameters: magmatic heating rate of the lithosphere, plate spreading rate, age of the seafloor overlying the plume, and the plume-ridge migration rate. Results indicate that the minimum value of the magmatic heating rate needed to initiate a ridge jump increases with plate age and spreading rate. The time required to complete a ridge jump decreases with larger values of magmatic heating rate, younger plate age, and faster spreading rate. For cases with migrating ridges, models predict a range of behaviors including repeating ridge jumps, much like those exhibited on Earth. Repeating ridge jumps occur at moderate magmatic heating rates and are the result of changes in the hot spot magma flux in response to magma migration along the base of an evolving lithosphere. The tendency of slow spreading to promote ridge jumps could help explain the observed clustering of hot spots near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Model results also suggest that magmatic heating may significantly thin the lithosphere, as has been suggested at Hawaii and other hot spots

Topics: Plume-ridge interaction, Hotspot, Ridge jump.
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1029/2010JB007504
OAI identifier: oai:dro.dur.ac.uk.OAI2:8075

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