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Emplacement mechanisms of a dyke swarm across the brittle-ductile transition and the geodynamic implications for magma-rich margins

Abstract : Igneous dykes are the main magma transport pathways through the Earth's crust, and they are considered to contribute to tectonic extension in volcanic rifts. Dykes are typically considered to result from brittle fracturing, even in the ductile crust. A common assumption is that dyke orientation is controlled by tectonic stresses, such that dykes in rifts are expected to be vertical and perpendicular to extension. Here we report on detailed field observations of a spectacularly well-exposed dyke swarm to show that dykes were not systematically emplaced by purely brittle processes and that dyke orientation may differ from the dominant tectonic stress orientations. The dyke complex formed near the brittle-ductile transition during opening of the Iapetus Ocean and is now exposed in the Scandinavian Caledonides. Distinct dyke morphologies related to different emplacement mechanisms has been recognized: 1) Brittle dykes that exhibit straight contacts with the host rock, sharp tips, en-echelon segments with bridges exhibiting angular fragments; 2) Brittle-ductile dykes that exhibit undulating contacts, rounded tips, ductile folding in the host rock and contemporaneous brittle and ductile features; 3) Ductile "dykes" that exhibit rounded shapes and mingling between the soft ductile host rock and the intruding mafic magma. The brittle dykes exhibit two distinct orientations separated by c. 30 • that are mutually crosscutting, suggesting that the dyke swam did not consist of only vertical sheets perpendicular to regional extension, as expected in rifts. We were able to use the well-exposed host rock layers as markers to perform a kinematic restoration to quantify the average strain accommodating the emplacement of the dyke complex: it accommodated for >100% extension, but counter-intuitively it also accommodated for 27% crustal thickening. We infer that the magma influx rate was higher than the tectonic stretching rate, implying that magma was emplaced forcefully, as supported by field observations. Finally, our observations suggest that the fast emplacement of the dyke swarm triggered a rapid shallowing of the brittle-ductile transition, and lead to a considerable weakening of the crust. The interpretations presented here could potentially have large implications for surface topography and seismicity in active rifts and volcanic areas around the world.
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Hans Jørgen Kjøll, Galland Olivier, Loic Labrousse, Torgeir B. Andersen. Emplacement mechanisms of a dyke swarm across the brittle-ductile transition and the geodynamic implications for magma-rich margins. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2019, 518, pp.223-235. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2019.04.016⟩. ⟨insu-03188793⟩

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