Melt generation, crystallization, and extraction beneath segmented oceanic transform faults Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • We examine mantle melting, fractional crystallization, and melt extraction beneath fast slipping, segmented oceanic transform fault systems. Three-dimensional mantle flow and thermal structures are calculated using a temperature-dependent rheology that incorporates a viscoplastic approximation for brittle deformation in the lithosphere. Thermal solutions are combined with the near-fractional, polybaric melting model of Kinzler and Grove (1992a, 1992b, 1993) to determine extents of melting, the shape of the melting regime, and major element melt composition. We investigate the mantle source region of intratransform spreading centers (ITSCs) using the melt migration approach of Sparks and Parmentier (1991) for two end-member pooling models: (1) a wide pooling region that incorporates all of the melt focused to the ITSC and (2) a narrow pooling region that assumes melt will not migrate across a transform fault or fracture zone. Assuming wide melt pooling, our model predictions can explain both the systematic crustal thickness excesses observed at intermediate and fast slipping transform faults as well as the deeper and lower extents of melting observed in the vicinity of several transform systems. Applying these techniques to the Siqueiros transform on the East Pacific Rise we find that both the viscoplastic rheology and wide melt pooling are required to explain the observed variations in gravity inferred crustal thickness. Finally, we show that mantle potential temperature Tp = 1350°C and fractional crystallization at depths of 9–15.5 km fit the majority of the major element geochemical data from the Siqueiros transform fault system.

publication date

  • November 2009