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Abyssal hill deflections at Pacific-Antarctic ridge-transform intersections

Croon, Marcel B. and Cande, Steven C. and Stock, Joann M. (2010) Abyssal hill deflections at Pacific-Antarctic ridge-transform intersections. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 11 . Art. No. Q11004 . ISSN 1525-2027. doi:10.1029/2010GC003236.

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Nearly complete coverage of shipboard multibeam bathymetry data at the right-stepping Menard and Pitman Fracture Zones allowed us to map abyssal hill deviations along their traces. In this study we distinguish between (1) J-shaped curvatures at their origin, where modeling is addressing primary volcanism and faulting following a curved zone, and (2) straight abyssal hills getting bent in anti-J-shaped curvatures, in response to increased coupling across the transform fault, after they were formed. We compared the mapped abyssal hill deflections to a detailed plate motion model for the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge to test how abyssal hill curvature correlates to changes in plate motion direction, which lead to periods of transtension or transpression. This test was based on the number and size of the abyssal hill deflections. The observations show a high abundance of J-shaped abyssal hills during periods of significant clockwise change in plate motion direction, which leads to transtension. The tip of the ridge axis can deflect up to 60° into the transform fault in response to changes in the stress field at ridge-transform intersections. This is observed, in particular, at the Pitman Fracture Zone, where there has been a ∼15° clockwise rotation of the spreading direction azimuth during the last 9 Myr. In addition, we observed anti-J-shaped curvatures at Menard, Pitman, and Heirtzler Fracture Zones during periods of transpression when increased coupling across an oceanic transform fault is partially accommodated by distributed strike-slip deformation rather than solely by discontinuous displacement at the transform fault. Anti-J-shaped deflections typically develop in seafloor less than 2 Myr old when the oceanic lithosphere is thin.

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Stock, Joann M.0000-0003-4816-7865
Additional Information:© 2010 American Geophysical Union. Received 25 May 2010; accepted 10 September 2010; published 9 November 2010. This study was made possible through a series of grants from the NSF Office of Polar Programs, which supported the acquisition of geophysical data along transits of the R/VIB Nathaniel B. Palmer: grants OPP‐0338317, OPP‐0338346, OPP‐0126334, and OPP‐0126340. We are grateful to Ifremer (Institut français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer) for providing multibeam bathymetry data from the PACANTARCTIC 1 and 2 cruises. We thank the officers, crew, and scientific staff of the R/VIB Nathaniel B. Palmer and the many students who sailed on these cruises. Comments from Jeff Gee, Donna Blackman, Roi Granot, and two anonymous reviewers helped us make a number of improvements to the manuscript. Caltech contribution 9005.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:abyssal hill; curvature; Pacific-Antarctic Ridge; ridge-transform intersection; tectonics; stress field
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20101206-100510765
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Official Citation:Croon, M. B., S. C. Cande, and J. M. Stock (2010), Abyssal hill deflections at Pacific-Antarctic ridge-transform intersections, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 11, Q11004, doi:10.1029/2010GC003236
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:21174
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Dec 2010 19:10
Last Modified:29 Sep 2022 22:21

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