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Crustal structure of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge south of the Kane Fracture Zone from seafloor and sea surface gravity data

Abstract : Seafloor and sea surface gravity data are inverted together to construct a model for the near-axis crustal structure of a slow spreading ridge. The seafloor data set offers two main advantages: it allows us to recover shorter-wavelengths signal and to constrain the value of a potential field at two different levels. The model we propose here would not have been derived from sea surface data alone. It is based on a dense sea surface gravity coverage and on 121 sea bottom gravity measurements collected in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at Kane (MARK) area, during the Hydrosnake (1988) and Gravinaute (1993) cruises. The primary goal of the seafloor surveys was to test for the presence of a magma reservoir beneath the axial neovolcanic ridge. First, a forward two-dimensional (2-D) model of the crustal structure across the axis is fit to observed gravity anomalies, using constraints from geological and structural observations. Bouguer anomalies computed from sea bottom measurements and downward continuation of sea surface measurements both constrain the forward modeling. This forward model is the starting point of a 2-D Monte Carlo inversion of seafloor and sea surface data. In addition to the crustal thickness variations along-axis, our data document the amplitude variations of the crustal thickness and/or its density in the across-axis direction. The model resulting from our inversion exhibits several features of the crustal structure in the MARK area: (1) The presence of a low-density (Ap =-300_+ 50 kg/m 3) body beneath the neovolcanic ridge is suggested and could correspond to a magma chamber, or more probably to a highly hydrothermally fissured zone. (2) Both long-and short-wavelength gravity signals exhibit a difference between the western and eastern sides of the axial domain: the mean value and the amplitude of Bouguer anomalies are higher on the western part. This difference suggests that axial processes, in this area, are very asymmetric. (3) Abyssal hills are not associated with a single gravity signature: for instance, on the west side of the axis, one of the explored hills has no Bouguer anomaly and is interpreted as a neovolcanic ridge, whereas the others are associated with a shifted Bouguer anomaly high and are interpreted as having thinner magmatic crust. (4) The last feature of the crustal fabric we document here is the asymmetric emplacement of some deep rocks outcrops. In the MARK area, we find that "Pink Hill," a topographic high where serpentinized peridotites are outcropping, is much more serpentinized on its east flank, toward the axial valley, than on its west flank. Alteration occurring mainly by fluid circulation through faulted zones, the asymmetric serpentinization suggests that deep-origin rocks have outcropped by means of a main fault zone and are not emplaced by diapirism.
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Va16rie Ballu, Jacques Dubois, Christine Deplus, Michel Diament, Sylvain Bonvalot. Crustal structure of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge south of the Kane Fracture Zone from seafloor and sea surface gravity data. Journal of Geophysical Research : Solid Earth, American Geophysical Union, 1997, 103 (B2), ⟨10.1029/97JB02542⟩. ⟨insu-01353976⟩

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