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Mid-ocean ridge

About: Mid-ocean ridge is a(n) research topic. Over the lifetime, 4190 publication(s) have been published within this topic receiving 262361 citation(s). The topic is also known as: mid-ocean ridges & ridge. more

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: We present four companion digital models of the age, age uncertainty, spreading rates, and spreading asymmetries of the world's ocean basins as geographic and Mercator grids with 2 arc min resolution. The grids include data from all the major ocean basins as well as detailed reconstructions of back-arc basins. The age, spreading rate, and asymmetry at each grid node are determined by linear interpolation between adjacent seafloor isochrons in the direction of spreading. Ages for ocean floor between the oldest identified magnetic anomalies and continental crust are interpolated by geological estimates of the ages of passive continental margin segments. The age uncertainties for grid cells coinciding with marine magnetic anomaly identifications, observed or rotated to their conjugate ridge flanks, are based on the difference between gridded age and observed age. The uncertainties are also a function of the distance of a given grid cell to the nearest age observation and the proximity to fracture zones or other age discontinuities. Asymmetries in crustal accretion appear to be frequently related to asthenospheric flow from mantle plumes to spreading ridges, resulting in ridge jumps toward hot spots. We also use the new age grid to compute global residual basement depth grids from the difference between observed oceanic basement depth and predicted depth using three alternative age-depth relationships. The new set of grids helps to investigate prominent negative depth anomalies, which may be alternatively related to subducted slab material descending in the mantle or to asthenospheric flow. A combination of our digital grids and the associated relative and absolute plate motion model with seismic tomography and mantle convection model outputs represents a valuable set of tools to investigate geodynamic problems. more

1,489 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Regional averages of the major element chemistry of ocean ridge basalts, corrected for low-pressure fractionation, correlate with regional averages of axial depth for the global system of ocean ridges, including hot spots, cold spots, and back arc basins, as well as “normal” ocean ridges. Quantitative consideration of the variations of each major element during melting of the mantle suggests that the global major element variations can be accounted for by ∼8–20% melting of the mantle at associated mean pressures of 5–16 kbar. The lowest extents of melting occur at shallowest depths in the mantle and are associated with the deepest ocean ridges. Calculated mean primary magmas show a range in composition from 10 to 15 wt % MgO, and the primary magma compositions correlate with depth. Data for Sm, Yb, Sc, and Ni are consistent with the major elements, but highly incompatible elements show more complicated behavior. In addition, some hot spots have anomalous chemistry, suggesting major element heterogeneity. Thermal modeling of mantle ascending adiabatically beneath the ridge is consistent with the chemical data and melting calculations, provided the melt is tapped from throughout the ascending mantle column. The thermal modeling independently predicts the observed relationships among basalt chemistry, ridge depth, and crustal thickness resulting from temperature variations in the mantle. Beneath the shallowest and deepest ridge axes, temperature differences of approximately 250°C in the subsolidus mantle are required to account for the global systematics. more

1,485 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
John F. Dewey1, John M. Bird2Institutions (2)
Abstract: Analysis of the sedimentary, volcanic, structural, and metamorphic chronology in mountain belts, and consideration of the implications of the new global tectonics (plate tectonics), strongly indicate that mountain belts are a consequence of plate evolution. It is proposed that mountain belts develop by the deformation and metamorphism of the sedimentary and volcanic assemblages of Atlantic-type continental margins. These assemblages result from the events associated with the rupture of continents and the expansion of oceans by lithosphere plate generation at oceanic ridges. The earliest assemblages thus developed are volcanic rocks and coarse clastic sediments deposited in fault-bounded troughs on a distending and segmenting continental crust, subsequently split apart and carried away from the ridge on essentially aseismic continental margins. As the continental margins move away from the ridge, nonvolcanic continental shelf and rise assemblages of orthoquartzite-carbonate, and lutite (shelf), and lutite, slump deposits, and turbidites (rise) accumulate. This kind of continental margin is transformed into an orogenic belt in one of two ways. If a trench develops near, or at, the continenal margin to consume lithosphere from the oceanic side, a mountain belt (cordilleran type) grows by dominantly thermal mechanisms related to the rise of calc-alkaline and basaltic magmas. Cordilleran-type mountain belts are characterized by paired metamorphic belts (blueschist on the oceanic side and high temperature on the continental side) and divergent thrusting and synorogenic sediment transport from the high-temperature volcanic axis. If the continental margin collides with an island arc, or with another continent, a collision-type mountain belt develops by dominantly mechanical processes. Where a continent/island arc collision occurs, the resulting mountains will be small (e.g., the Tertiary fold belt of northern New Guinea), and a new trench will develop on the oceanic side of the arc. Where a continent/continent collision occurs, the mountains will be large (e.g., the Himalayas), and the single trench zone of plate consumption is replaced by a wide zone of deformation. Collision-type mountain belts do not have paired metamorphic belts; they are characterized by a single dominant direction of thrusting and synorogenic sediment transport, away from the site of the trench over the underthrust plate. Stratigraphic sequences of mountain belts (geosynclinal sequences) match those asciated with present-day oceans, island arcs, and continental margins. more

1,381 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: We present a new estimate of the Earth's heat loss based on a new global compilation of heat flow measurements comprising 24,774 observations at 20,201 sites. On a 5 o x 5 o grid, the observations cover 62% of the Earth's surface. Empirical estimators, ref- erenced to geological map units and derived from the observations, enable heat flow to be estimated in areas without measurements. Corrections for the effects of hydrothermal circulation in the oceanic crest compen- sate for the advected heat undetected in measurements of the conductive heat flux. The mean heat flows of continents and oceans are 65 and 101 mW m -2, re- spectively, which when areally weighted yield a global mean of 87 mW m -2 and a global heat loss of 44.2 x 10 2 W, an increase of some 4-8% over earlier esti- mates. More than half of the Earth's heat loss comes from Cenozoic oceanic lithosphere. A spherical hat- monic analysis of the global heat flow field reveals strong sectoral components and lesser zonal strength. The spectrum principally reflects the geographic dis- tribution of the ocean ridge system. The rate at which the heat flow spectrum loses strength with increasing harmonic degree is similar to the decline in spectral strength exhibited by the Earth's topography. The spectra of the gravitational and magnetic fields fall off much more steeply, consistent with field sources in the lower mantle and core, respectively. Families of con- tinental and oceanic conductive geotherms indicate the range of temperatures existing in the lithosphere under various surface heat flow conditions. The heat flow field is very well correlated with the seismic shear wave velocity distribution near the top of the upper mantle. more

1,335 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Nb/U ratios and Ce/Pb ratios are surprisingly uniform at47 ± 10and25 ± 5, respectively, in both mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) and ocean island basalts (OIB). We show that these ratios also characterize the mantle sources of both types of oceanic basalts, and that these mantle sources have been fractionated from the primitive-mantle ratios ofNb/U = 30 andCe/Pb = 9. The respective ratios in the continental crust are even lower, namelyNb/U = 10 andCe/Pb = 4. Therefore, OIB cannot be derived from a primitive portion of the mantle, from mixtures of primitive and depleted mantle, or from recycled continental crust. The portion of the primitive mantle from which the continental crust and the residual (MORB plus OIB source) mantle has been differentiated is estimated to be about 50%, but the uncertainties are such that whole-mantle differentiation cannot be ruled out. We propose the following simple model to satisfy the above new constraint on mantle composition: The differentiated part of the mantle, chemically depleted after separation of the major portion of the continental crust, was subsequently internally rehomogenized. This depleted but chemically homogeneous mantle region was then differentiated into MORB and OIB source regions. The primary (continental crust—mantle) differentiation fractionated the Nb/U and Ce/Pb ratios, but the secondary (MORB source-OIB source) differentiation did not. Following the model of Hofmann and White [1,2], we suggest that the mechanism chiefly responsible for the secondary differentiation is the formation and subduction of oceanic crust. It is volumetrically by far the most important ongoing differentiation process on Earth and, over the course of Earth history, has created at least ten times as much oceanic crust as the present-day volume of continental crust. Because the residual mantle was homogenized (though depleted in incompatible elements) after the primary differentiation, the isotopic and chemical heterogeneities exemplified by the isotope ratios of Sr, Nd, Hf, and Pb, and by trace element ratios such as K/Rb, were created during the secondary differentiation. During this process, the bulk partition coefficients of Nb and Ce were very similar to those of U and Pb, respectively. This is in contrast with the primary differentiation, during which U was more incompatible than Nb, and Pb more incompatible than Ce. more

1,327 citations

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Topic's top 5 most impactful authors

Charles H. Langmuir

38 papers, 8.3K citations

Robert S. White

34 papers, 2.2K citations

Donald W. Forsyth

34 papers, 2.5K citations

Mathilde Cannat

29 papers, 2.2K citations

Robert S. Detrick

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