Sill to surface: Linking young off-axis volcanism with subsurface melt at the overlapping spreading center at 9°03'N East Pacific Rise


Journal Article

No young, off-axis, mid-ocean ridge lavas have yet been directly linked to underlying off-axis melt bodies. In this study, we present new measurements of 238U-230Th-226Ra-210Pb isotope compositions for a suite of lavas from the overlapping spreading center (OSC) at 9°03'N on the East Pacific Rise (EPR). These lavas span a large range of compositions, from basalt to dacite, and include both axial and off-axis samples recovered from a prominent, axis-parallel pillow ridge and a flat-topped seamount that overlie the westernmost extent of a 4-km-wide melt lens (Kent et al., 2000). We report 210Pb excesses in axial basalts and basaltic andesites, which we suggest results from gas-magma fractionation of 222Rn from 226Ra beneath dacite magmas. In addition, our U-series ages agree with visual observations, indicating that while most recent volcanic activity occurs at the spreading axis, active volcanism also occurs away from the axis. Specifically, the off-axis pillow ridge and seamount samples overlying the off-axis subsurface melt body have eruption ages of less than 8ka, and likely as young as 1ka, despite being located on crust that has a spreading age of ~75ka. The young ages of these lavas, combined with existing geological, geochemical and geophysical constraints, provide evidence for a genetic link between the pillow ridge and seamount lavas and the seismically imaged, underlying off-axis melt lens. This link demonstrates that off-axis volcanism does not necessarily come from a sub-axial magma body and can be sourced directly from off-axis magma bodies. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Waters, CL; Sims, KWW; Klein, EM; White, SM; Reagan, MK; Girard, G

Published Date

  • May 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 369-370 /

Start / End Page

  • 59 - 70

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0012-821X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.03.006

Citation Source

  • Scopus