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Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

High-resolution Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) mapping of a slow-spreading ridge: Mid-Atlantic Ridge 45°N

Authors


Corresponding author: I. A. Yeo, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK. (i.a.yeo@durham.ac.uk)

Abstract

Abstract

[1] Axial volcanic ridges (AVRs) are found on most slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges and are thought to be the main locus of volcanism there. In this study we present high-resolution mapping of a typical, well-defined AVR on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 45°N. The AVR is characterized by “hummocky terrain,” composed typically of hummocks with pillowed or elongate pillowed flanks with pillowed or lobate lava flow summits, often with small haystacks sitting on their highest points. The AVR is surrounded by several areas of “flat seafloor,” composed of lobate and sheet lava flows. The spatial and morphological differences between these areas indicate different eruption processes operating on and off the AVR. Volcanic fissures are found all around and on the AVR, although those with the greatest horizontal displacement are found on the ridge crest and flat seafloor. Clusters of fissures may represent volcanic vents. Extremely detailed comparisons of sediment coverage and examination of contact relations around the AVR suggest that many of the areas of flat seafloor are of a similar age or younger than the hummocky terrain of the AVR. Additionally, all the lavas surveyed have similar degrees of sediment cover, suggesting that the AVR was either built or resurfaced in the same 50 ka time frame as the flat seafloor.

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