Seismic structure of the Endeavour Segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge: Correlations with seismicity and hydrothermal activity

Van Ark, EM, Detrick RS, Canales JP, Carbotte SM, Harding AJ, Kent GM, Nedimovic MR, Wilcock WSD, Diebold JB, Babcock JM.  2007.  Seismic structure of the Endeavour Segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge: Correlations with seismicity and hydrothermal activity. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 112

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center, East Pacific Rise, mid-atlantic ridge, midocean ridge, oceanic-crust, overlapping spreading, reflection data, structure, sulfide deposits, systems beneath, upper crustal structure, velocity


[ 1] Multichannel seismic reflection data collected in July 2002 at the Endeavour Segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge, show a midcrustal reflector underlying all of the known high-temperature hydrothermal vent fields in this area. On the basis of the character and geometry of this reflection, its similarity to events at other spreading centers, and its polarity, we identify this as a reflection from one or more crustal magma bodies rather than from a hydrothermal cracking front interface. The Endeavour magma chamber reflector is found under the central, topographically shallow section of the segment at two-way traveltime (TWTT) values of 0.9 - 1.4 s ( similar to 2.1 - 3.3 km) below the seafloor. It extends approximately 24 km along axis and is shallowest beneath the center of the segment and deepens toward the segment ends. On cross-axis lines the axial magma chamber (AMC) reflector is only 0.4 - 1.2 km wide and appears to dip 8 - 36 degrees to the east. While a magma chamber underlies all known Endeavour high-temperature hydrothermal vent fields, AMC depth is not a dominant factor in determining vent fluid properties. The stacked and migrated seismic lines also show a strong layer 2a event at TWTT values of 0.30 +/- 0.09 s ( 380 +/- 120 m) below the seafloor on the along-axis line and 0.38 +/- 0.09 s ( 500 +/- 110 m) on the cross-axis lines. A weak Moho reflection is observed in a few locations at TWTT values of 1.9 - 2.4 s below the seafloor. By projecting hypocenters of well-located microseismicity in this region onto the seismic sections, we find that most axial earthquakes are concentrated just above the magma chamber and distributed diffusely within this zone, indicating thermal-related cracking. The presence of a partially molten crustal magma chamber argues against prior hypotheses that hydrothermal heat extraction at this intermediate spreading ridge is primarily driven by propagation of a cracking front down into a frozen magma chamber and indicates that magmatic heat plays a significant role in the hydrothermal system. Morphological and hydrothermal differences between the intermediate spreading Endeavour and fast spreading ridges are attributable to the greater depth of the Endeavour AMC and the corresponding possibility of axial faulting.






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