“Imaging” the cross section of oceanic lithosphere: The development and future of electrical microresistivity logging through scientific ocean drilling
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A detailed understanding of the architecture of volcanic and magmatic lithologies present within the oceanic lithosphere is essential to advance our knowledge of the geodynamics of spreading ridges and subduction zones. Undertaking sub-meter scale observations of oceanic lithosphere is challenging, primarily because of the difficulty in direct continuous sampling (e.g., by scientific ocean drilling) and the limited resolution of the majority of geophysical remote sensing methods. Downhole logging data from drillholes through basement formations, when integrated with recovered core and geophysical remote sensing data, can provide new insights into crustal accretion processes, lithosphere hydrogeology and associated alteration processes, and variations in the physical properties of the oceanic lithosphere over time. Here, we introduce an alternative approach to determine the formation architecture and lithofacies of the oceanic sub-basement by using logging data, particularly utilizing downhole microresistivity imagery (e.g. Formation MicroScanner (FMS) imagery), which has the potential to become a key tool in deciphering the high-resolution internal architecture of the intact upper ocean crust. A novel ocean crust lithostratigraphy model based on meticulously deciphered lava morphology determined by in situ FMS electrofacies analysis of holes drilled during Ocean Drilling Program legs (1) advances our understanding of ocean crust formation and accretionary processes over both time and space; and (2) allows the linking of local igneous histories deciphered from the drillholes to the regional magmatic and tectonic histories. Furthermore, microresistivity imagery can potentially allow the investigation of (i) magmatic lithology and architecture in the lower ocean crust and upper mantle; and, (ii) void space abundances in crustal material and the determination of complex lithology-dependent void geometries. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.