Central Anomaly Magnetization High documentation of crustal accretion along the East Pacific Rise (9°55?-9°25?N) Academic Article uri icon


  • Near-bottom magnetic data collected along the crest of the East Pacific Rise between 9°55? and 9°25?N identify the Central Anomaly Magnetization High (CAMH), a geomagnetic anomaly modulated by crustal accretionary processes over timescales of ?104 years. A significant decrease in CAMH amplitude is observed along-axis from north to south, with the steepest gradient between 9°42? and 9°36?N. The source of this variation is neither a systematic change in geochemistry nor varying paleointensity at the time of lava eruption. Instead, magnetic moment models show that it can be accounted for by an observed ?50% decrease in seismic Layer 2A thickness along-axis. Layer 2A is assumed to be the extrusive volcanic layer, and we propose that this composes most of the magnetic source layer along the ridge axis. The 9°37?N overlapping spreading center (OSC) is located at the southern end of the steep CAMH gradient, and the 9°42?–9°36?N ridge segment is interpreted to be a transition zone in crustal accretion processes, with robust magmatism north of 9°42?N and relatively low magmatism at present south of 9°36?N. The 9°37?N OSC is also the only bathymetric discontinuity associated with a shift in the CAMH peak, which deviates ?0.7 km to the west of the axial summit trough, indicating southward migration of the OSC. CAMH boundaries (defined from the maximum gradients) lie within or overlie the neovolcanic zone (NVZ) boundaries throughout our survey area, implying a systematic relationship between recent volcanic activity and CAMH source. Maximum flow distances and minimum lava dip angles are inferred on the basis of the lateral distance between the NVZ and CAMH boundaries. Lava dip angles average ?14° toward the ridge axis, which agrees well with previous observations and offers a new method for estimating lava dip angles along fast spreading ridges where volcanic sequences are not exposed.

publication date

  • April 2008