National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2007

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

Dziak, R.P., D.R. Bohnenstiehl, J.P. Cowen, E.T. Baker, K.H. Rubin, J.H. Haxel, and M.J. Fowler

Geology, 35, 579–582, doi: 10.1130/G23476A.1 (2007)

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

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