Cracking of lithosphere north of the Galapagos triple junction


Journal Article

The Galapagos triple junction is a ridge-ridge-ridge triple junction where the Cocos, Nazca, and Pacific plates meet around the Galapagos microplate. Directly north of the large scarps of the Cocos-Nazca Rift, a 250-km-long and 50-km-wide band of northwest-southeast-trending cracks with volcanics at their western ends crosscuts and blankets the north-south-trending abyssal hills of the East Pacific Rise. It appears that the roughly northeast-southwest extension of East Pacific Rise-generated seafloor has been accommodated by a succession of minor rifts that, during at least the past 4 m.y., had their triple junctions with the East Pacific Rise at distances of 50-100 km north of the tip of the propagating Cocos-Nazca Rift. We propose that the rift locations are controlled by stresses associated with the dominant Cocos-Nazca Rift, and scaled by the distance of its tip to the East Pacific Rise. We speculate that similar ephemeral rifts occurred south of the Cocos-Nazca Rift and were instrumental in the origin of the rotating Galapagos microplate ca. 1.5 Ma. © 2008 The Geological Society of America.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Schouten, H; Smith, DK; Montési, LGJ; Zhu, W; Klein, EM

Published Date

  • May 1, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 36 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 339 - 342

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 0091-7613

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-7613

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1130/G24431A.1

Citation Source

  • Scopus