Geochemistry of dikes and lavas from the north wall of the Hess Deep Rift: Insights into the four-dimensional character of crustal construction at fast spreading mid-ocean ridges


Journal Article

An investigation of ∼1-m.y.-old dikes and lavas from the north wall of the Hess Deep Rift (2°15′N, 101°30′W) collected during Alvin expeditions provides a detailed view of the evolution of fast spreading oceanic crust. The study area encompasses 25 km of an east-west flow line, representing ∼370,000 years of crustal accretion at the East Pacific Rise. Samples analyzed exhibit depleted incompatible trace element abundances and ratios [(La/Sm)N < 1]. Indices of fractionation (MgO), and incompatible element ratios (La/Sm, Nb/Ti) show no systematic trends along flow line. Rather, over short (<4 m) and long (∼25 km) distances, significant variations are observed in major and trace element concentrations and ratios. Modeling of these variations attests to the juxtaposition of dikes of distinct parental magma compositions. These findings, combined with studies of segmentation of the subaxial magma chamber and lateral magma transport in dikes along rift-dominated systems, suggest a more realistic model of the magmatic system underlying the East Pacific Rise relative to the commonly assumed two-dimensional model. In this model, melts from a heterogeneous mantle feed distinct portions of a segmented axial magma reservoir. Dikes emanating from these distinct reservoirs transport magma along axis, resulting in interleaved dikes and host lavas with different evolutionary histories. This model suggests the use of axial or flow line lava compositions to infer the evolution of axial magma chambers should be approached with caution because dikes may never erupt lava or may transport magma significant distances along axis and erupt lavas far from their axial magma chamber of origin.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Stewart, MA; Klein, EM; Karson, JA

Published Date

  • October 10, 2002

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 107 / 10

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2169-9356

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2169-9313

Citation Source

  • Scopus