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Complex Dyke Emplacement at the Hyper-Inflated EPR 16°N Segment

Abstract : The EPR segment located between 15°22'N and 16°15'N (hereafter referred as EPR 16°N) presents a very wide (~13 km at the widest) and quite shallow (~2300 m) axial dome and is clearly over-inflated with respect to typical magmatically robust segments of the EPR. This segment is located at the intersection of the EPR with the Mathematician seamount chain, suggesting some kind of ridge-hotspot interaction which would account for the over-inflation. As a consequence of such an interaction, it has also been suggested that the ridge axis may episodically relocate further west to maintain the ridge-hotspot connection. Cruise Parisub of R/V L'Atalante took place in March-April 2010 and used Deep Sea Submersible Nautile and Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Aster-X to study this problem. The area was surveyed using L'Atalante new Simrad EM 122 echo-sounder, and a few sea-surface magnetic profiles were added to the existing data set. A higher resolution swath was achieved at a slower speed on the axial dome. AUV Aster-X completed a 30 x 4 km wide survey of the axial zone at an altitude of 70 m, collecting high resolution multibeam bathymetry and imagery, magnetics, and nephelometry. A total of 24 successful Nautile dives was carried out with videos and photos, rock sampling, and magnetic data collection, making an axial cross section up to 300 ka off-axis to investigate the inferred ridge jumps (10 Nautile dives), and a set of along axis dives to identify the active volcanic axis and search for active and fossil hydrothermal sites (13 Nautile dives). During these dives, several active and inactive hydrothermal vents have been discovered. In this presentation, we focus on the AUV survey. Unlike most fast spreading centres, which display one clear axial graben at the summit of the axial dome, the hyper-inflated dome at 16°N presents a complex set of several grabens, among which it is difficult to decipher which one are volcanically active and may be considered as the neovolcanic zone. To this end, we have used the magnetic data, adequately corrected for the effect of the AUV and reduced to total field anomaly. The resulting magnetic map shows a set on negative anomalies associated to some - but not all - grabens and help to discriminate between recently active and inactive grabens. Indeed, such negative anomalies have already been observed by Shah et al. (JGR, 2003) on the EPR at 17°28'S and 18°37'S and interpreted as marking the presence of hot dyke swarms, warmer than the Curie temperature, and the associated demagnetization of nearby basalt. Forward modelling by these authors suggests that such an anomaly can remain during about century. On the EPR 16°N, the presence of several anomalies suggests that, in some areas, several dyke swarms are "simultaneously" active (at the scale of a century). The intensity of these anomalies may reflect the size and/or the age of the dyke swarms, the stronger anomalies corresponding to the larger and/or the hottest (and therefore most recent) dykes.
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J. Dyment, A. Deschamps, Pascal Gente, Arnaud Agranier, A. Aquilon-Robles, et al.. Complex Dyke Emplacement at the Hyper-Inflated EPR 16°N Segment. AGU Fall Meeting, Dec 2010, San Francisco, United States. pp.2223. ⟨insu-00948883⟩



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