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Keywords:

  • Integrated Ocean Drilling Program;
  • Site U1309;
  • slow spreading ridge;
  • oceanic core complex;
  • detachment faulting;
  • zircon geochronology

Sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) U-Pb zircon ages of 24 samples from oceanic crust recovered in Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Hole U1309D and from the surface of Atlantis Massif, Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) (30°N) document a protracted history of accretion in the footwall to an oceanic detachment fault. Ages for 18 samples of evolved Fe-Ti oxide gabbro and felsic dikes collected 40–1415 m below seafloor in U1309D yield a weighted mean of 1.20 ± 0.03 Ma (mean square of weighted deviates = 7.1). However, the ages range from 1.08 ± 0.07 Ma and 1.28 ± 0.05 Ma indicating crustal construction occurred over a minimum of 100–200 ka. The zircon ages, along with petrologic observations, indicate at least 2 major periods of intrusive activity with age peaks separated by 70 ka. The oldest ages are observed below 600 mbsf, an observation inconsistent with models requiring constant depth melt intrusion beneath a detachment fault. The data are most consistent with a “multiple sill” model whereby sills intrude at random depths below the ridge axis over a length scale greater than 1.4 km. Zircon ages from broadly spaced samples collected along the southern ridge of Atlantis Massif yield a detachment fault slip rate of 28.7 ± 6.7 mm/a and imply significant asymmetric plate spreading (up to 100% on the North American plate) for at least 200 ka during core complex formation.