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Rapid dike emplacement leads to eruptions and hydrothermal plume release during seafloor spreading events

R.P. Dziak

Cooperative Institute for Marine Resource Studies, Oregon State University, and Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, Oregon

D.R. Bohnenstiehl

Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Rayleigh, North Carolina

J.P. Cowen

Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii

E.T. Baker

Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory, NOAA, Seattle, Washington

K.H. Rubin

Department of Geology and Geophysics, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii

J.H. Haxel and M.J. Fowler

Cooperative Institute for Marine Resource Studies, Oregon State University, and Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, Oregon

Geology., 35(7), 579-582 (2007)
Copyright 2007 by The Geological Society of America. Further electronic distribution is not allowed.

Abstract

The creation of ocean crust by rapid injection of magma at mid-ocean ridges can lead to eruptions of lava onto the seafloor and  release of “event plumes,” which are huge volumes of anomalously warm water enriched in reduced chemicals that rise up to 1 km above the seafloor. Here, we use seismic data to show that seafloor eruptions and the release of hydrothermal event plumes correspond to diking episodes with high injection velocities and rapid onset of magma emplacement within the rift zone. These attributes result from high excess magma pressure at the dike source, likely due to a new influx of melt from the mantle. These dynamic magmatic conditions can be detected remotely and may predict the likelihood of event plume release during future seafloor spreading events.

Keywords: dike injection, earthquakes, hydroacoustics, ridge, Juan de Fuca.


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