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Arnulf, AF, Harding AJ, Kent GM, Wilcock WSD.  2018.  Structure, seismicity, and accretionary processes at the hot spot-influenced axial seamount on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 123:4618-4646.   10.1029/2017jb015131   AbstractWebsite

Axial Seamount is the most volcanically active site of the northeast Pacific, and it has been monitored with a growing set of observations and sensors during the last two decades. Accurate imaging of the internal structure of volcanic systems is critical to better understand magma storage processes and to quantify mass and energy transport mechanisms in the crust. To improve the three-dimensional velocity structure of Axial Seamount, we combined 469,891 new traveltime arrivals, from 12 downward extrapolated seismic profiles, with 3,962 existing ocean-bottom-seismometers traveltime arrivals, into a joint tomographic inversion. Our approach reveals two elongated magma reservoirs, with melt fraction up to 65%, representing an unusually large volume of melt (26-60km(3)), which is likely the result of enhanced magma supply from the juxtaposition of the Cobb hot spot plume (0.26-0.53m(3)/s) and the Axial spreading segment (0.79-1.06m(3)/s). The tomographic model also resolves a subsided caldera floor that provides an effective trap for ponding lava flows, via a trapdoor mechanism. Our model also shows that Axial's extrusive section is thinnest beneath the elevated volcano, where anomalously thick (11km) oceanic crust is present. We therefore suggest that focused and enhanced melt supply predominantly thickens the crust beneath Axial Seamount through diking accretion and gabbro crystallization. Lastly, we demonstrate that our three-dimensional velocity model provides a more realistic starting point for relocating the local seismicity, better resolving a network of conjugate outward and inward dipping faults beneath the caldera walls.(c) 2018. The Authors.

Sahakian, V, Bormann J, Driscoll N, Harding A, Kent G, Wesnousky S.  2017.  Seismic constraints on the architecture of the Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon fault: Implications for the length and magnitude of future earthquake ruptures. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 122:2085-2105.   10.1002/2016jb013467   AbstractWebsite

The Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon (NIRC) fault zone is an active strike-slip fault system within the Pacific-North American plate boundary in Southern California, located in close proximity to populated regions of San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. Prior to this study, the NIRC fault zone's continuity and geometry were not well constrained. Nested marine seismic reflection data with different vertical resolutions are employed to characterize the offshore fault architecture. Four main fault strands are identified offshore, separated by three main stepovers along strike, all of which are 2km or less in width. Empirical studies of historical ruptures worldwide show that earthquakes have ruptured through stepovers with this offset. Models of Coulomb stress change along the fault zone are presented to examine the potential extent of future earthquake ruptures on the fault zone, which appear to be dependent on the location of rupture initiation and fault geometry at the stepovers. These modeling results show that the southernmost stepover between the La Jolla and Torrey Pines fault strands may act as an inhibitor to throughgoing rupture due to the stepover width and change in fault geometry across the stepover; however, these results still suggest that rupture along the entire fault zone is possible.

Han, L, Hole JA, Stock JM, Fuis GS, Kell A, Driscoll NW, Kent GM, Harding AJ, Rymer MJ, Gonzalez-Fernandez A, Lazaro-Mancilla O.  2016.  Continental rupture and the creation of new crust in the Salton Trough rift, Southern California and northern Mexico: Results from the Salton Seismic Imaging Project. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 121:7469-7489.   10.1002/2016jb013139   AbstractWebsite

A refraction and wide-angle reflection seismic profile along the axis of the Salton Trough, California and Mexico, was analyzed to constrain crustal and upper mantle seismic velocity structure during active continental rifting. From the northern Salton Sea to the southern Imperial Valley, the crust is 17-18 km thick and approximately one-dimensional. The transition at depth from Colorado River sediment to underlying crystalline rock is gradual and is not a depositional surface. The crystalline rock from similar to 3 to similar to 8 km depth is interpreted as sediment metamorphosed by high heat flow. Deeper felsic crystalline rock could be stretched preexisting crust or higher-grade metamorphosed sediment. The lower crust below similar to 12 km depth is interpreted to be gabbro emplaced by rift-related magmatic intrusion by underplating. Low upper mantle velocity indicates high temperature and partial melting. Under the Coachella Valley, sediment thins to the north and the underlying crystalline rock is interpreted as granitic basement. Mafic rock does not exist at 12-18 km depth as it does to the south, and a weak reflection suggests Moho at similar to 28 km depth. Structure in adjacent Mexico has slower midcrustal velocity, and rocks with mantle velocity must be much deeper than in the Imperial Valley. Slower velocity and thicker crust in the Coachella and Mexicali valleys define the rift zone between them to be >100 km wide in the direction of plate motion. North American lithosphere in the central Salton Trough has been rifted apart and is being replaced by new crust created by magmatism, sedimentation, and metamorphism.

Sahakian, V, Kell A, Harding A, Driscoll N, Kent G.  2016.  Geophysical evidence for a San Andreas subparallel transtensional fault along the northeastern shore of the Salton Sea. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 106:1963-1978.   10.1785/0120150350   AbstractWebsite

The southern San Andreas fault (SSAF) accommodates a significant amount of strain between the Pacific and North American plates; thus, the fault represents a major geohazard to the populated areas of southern California, in particular the larger Los Angeles metropolitan area. Paleoseismic chronology of ruptures along the SSAF segment suggests this fault is near the end of its interseismic period (similar to 180 years), because it has not ruptured in historic times (similar to 320 years). A recent active-source seismic experiment performed in the Salton Sea west of the SSAF provides evidence for extensional deformation along the northeastern shore of the Salton Sea. This study posits that the extensional deformation is due to a previously unmapped fault, here named the Salton trough fault (STF). The seismic reflection data image a divergent sediment package that dips toward the northeast with thicknesses up to at least 2 km. Refraction inversion produces a southwestward-dipping velocity discontinuity that crops out east of the SSAF surface trace, consistent with the existence of a southwest to northeast gradient in lithology. If present, the existence of the STF has scientific and societal relevance. First, the STF appears to control the recent Salton trough architecture north of Bombay Beach. Second, from a seismological hazards perspective, the presence of this structure could alter the current understanding of stress transfer and rupture dynamics in the region, as well as community fault models and ground-motion simulations on the SSAF.

Arnulf, AF, Harding AJ, Kent GM, Carbotte SM, Canales JP, Nedimovic MR.  2014.  Anatomy of an active submarine volcano. Geology. 42:655-658.   10.1130/g35629.1   AbstractWebsite

Most of the magma erupted at mid-ocean ridges is stored in a mid-crustal melt lens that lies at the boundary between sheeted dikes and gabbros. Nevertheless, images of the magma pathways linking this melt lens to the overlying eruption site have remained elusive. Here, we have used seismic methods to image the thickest magma reservoir observed beneath any spreading center to date, which is principally attributed to the juxtaposition of the Juan de Fuca Ridge with the Cobb hotspot (northwestern USA). Our results reveal a complex melt body, which is similar to 14 km long, 3 km wide, and up to 1 km thick, beneath the summit caldera. The estimated volume of the reservoir is 18-30 km(3), more than two orders of magnitude greater than the erupted magma volumes of either the A. D. 1998 or 2011 eruption. Our images show a network of sub-horizontal to shallow-dipping (<30 degrees) features that we interpret as pathways facilitating melt transport from the magma reservoir to the eruption sites.

Umhoefer, PJ, Maloney SJ, Buchanan B, Arrowsmith JR, Martinez-Gutierrez G, Kent G, Driscoll N, Harding A, Kaufman D, Rittenour T.  2014.  Late Quaternary faulting history of the Carrizal and related faults, La Paz region, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Geosphere. 10:476-504.   10.1130/ges00924.1   AbstractWebsite

The southwest margin of the Gulf of California has an array of active normal faults despite this being an oblique-divergent plate boundary with spreading centers that localized deformation along the plate boundary 2-3 million years ago. The Carrizal and Centenario faults form the western border fault of the Gulf of California marginal fault system within and south of La Paz Bay, and similar to 20-30 km west of the capital city of La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Geologic and geomorphic mapping, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) geochronology, and paleoseismic investigations onshore, compressed high-intensity radar pulse (CHIRP) profiling offshore, and analysis of uplifted marine terraces in the footwall of the offshore Carrizal fault provide some of the first numerical and geometrical constraints on late Pleistocene-Holocene faulting along the Carrizal fault. The onshore Carrizal fault has ruptured with up to similar to 1-2 m of vertical displacement per event, likely producing similar to M 6.3-6.9 earthquakes, and at least two to three surface rupturing earthquakes have occurred since 22 ka. Onshore paleoseismic excavations and uplifted marine terraces on the western side of La Paz Bay both suggest offset rates of 0.1-0.2 mm/yr, with a footwall uplift rate of 0.13 mm/yr since 128 ka, and an approximately constant rate since marine oxygen-isotope stage (MIS) 11 terraces (420 ka). A CHIRP survey identified underwater fault scarps with heights ranging from 21 to 86 m on the Carrizal fault in La Paz Bay and from 3 to 5 m along the Centenario fault. The offshore Carrizal fault lies 8-10 km east of the western edge of La Paz Bay, forming a right step from the onshore Carrizal fault. The offshore Carrizal fault is the oldest fault of the fault system, and the fault likely grew in the latest Miocene to Pliocene in a complex way to the south toward the onshore Centenario and Carrizal faults. When the Alarcon spreading center started its modern rates at 2.4 Ma, the Carrizal fault likely slowed to the 0.1-0.2 mm/yr rates of the late Quaternary determined in this study.

Arnulf, AF, Harding AJ, Singh SC, Kent GM, Crawford WC.  2014.  Nature of upper crust beneath the Lucky Strike volcano using elastic full waveform inversion of streamer data. Geophysical Journal International. 196:1471-1491.   10.1093/gji/ggt461   AbstractWebsite

Seismic full waveform is an emerging technique for determining the fine-scale velocity structure of the subsurface. Here, we present results of elastic full waveform inversion (FWI) along three multichannel seismic lines at the Lucky Strike volcano on the Mid-Atlantic ridge that provides a velocity image of the upper oceanic crust with unprecedented resolution (50-100 m). We have used a two-step process combining downward continuation with a time-domain, elastic FWI. The downward continuation procedure enhances the refracted arrivals and wide-angle reflections, and reduces the scattering noise due to rough seafloor. Since both sources and receivers are downward continued to the seafloor, the computational cost of FWI is reduced, as one does not need to model the thick water layer. Our results clearly demarcate two layers within seismic Layer 2A; a low-velocity, highly heterogeneous layer likely reflecting the complexity of accretion that is underlain by a more homogeneous high-velocity gradient layer. The base of Layer 2A is defined as a lithological boundary that can be offset by faulting. Thick (> 400 m) units of anomalously low-velocity material (< 2.5 km s(-1)) beneath different summital edifices on the central volcano indicate that a thick pile of high-porosity extrusive rocks can be supported without collapsing, suggesting that while in general there is pore closure with depth this is not the cause of high velocities we observe. Hydrothermal deposition sealing of small-scale porosity is shown to be a secondary process, which likely explains the upper crustal velocity increase with age, but is not responsible for the high-velocity gradient Layer 2A. Finally, the rapid thinning of the entire Layer 2A in the vicinity of the main normal faults suggests the tectonic thinning of a geologically defined layer, further confirming the lithological origin of the high-velocity gradient zone at the base of seismic Layer 2A.

Arnulf, AF, Harding AJ, Kent GM, Singh SC, Crawford WC.  2014.  Constraints on the shallow velocity structure of the Lucky Strike Volcano, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, from downward continued multichannel streamer data. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 119:1119-1144.   10.1002/2013jb010500   AbstractWebsite

The shallow velocity structure of the Lucky Strike segment of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is investigated using seismic refraction and reflection techniques applied to downward continued multichannel streamer data. We present a three-dimensional velocity model beneath the Lucky Strike Volcano with unprecedented spatial resolutions of a few hundred meters. These new constraints reveal large lateral variations in P wave velocity structure beneath this feature. Throughout the study area, uppermost crustal velocities are significantly lower than those inferred from lower resolution ocean bottom seismometer studies, with the lowest values (1.8-2.2km/s) found beneath the three central volcanic cones. Within the central volcano, distinct shallow units are mapped that likely represent a systematic process such as burial of older altered surfaces. We infer that the entire upper part of the central volcano is young relative to the underlying median valley floor and that there has been little increase in the layer 2A velocities since emplacement. Layer 2A thins significantly across the axial valley bounding faults likely as the result of footwall uplift. The upper crustal velocities increase with age, on average, at a rate of similar to 0.875km/s/Myr, similar to previous measurements at fast-spreading ridges, suggesting hydrothermal sealing of small-scale porosity is progressing at normal to enhanced rates.

Blackman, DK, Slagle A, Guerin G, Harding A.  2014.  Geophysical signatures of past and present hydration within a young oceanic core complex. Geophysical Research Letters. 41:1179-1186.   10.1002/2013gl058111   AbstractWebsite

Borehole logging at the Atlantis Massif oceanic core complex provides new information on the relationship between the physical properties and the lithospheric hydration of a slow-spread intrusive crustal section. Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Hole U1309D penetrates 1.4km into the footwall to an exposed detachment fault on the 1.2Ma flank of the mid-Atlantic Ridge, 30 degrees N. Downhole variations in seismic velocity and resistivity show a strong correspondence to the degree of alteration, a recorder of past seawater circulation. Average velocity and resistivity are lower, and alteration is more pervasive above a fault around 750m. Deeper, these properties have higher values except in heavily altered ultramafic zones that are several tens of meters thick. Present circulation inferred from temperature mimics this pattern: advective cooling persists above 750m, but below, conductive cooling dominates except for small excursions within the ultramafic zones. These alteration-related physical property signatures are probably a characteristic of gabbroic cores at oceanic core complexes. Key Points Borehole T indicates shallow present circulation, conductive regime > 750 mbsf Narrow fault zones have seismic, T, resistivity signal indicating localized flow Hydration of gabbroic oceanic core complexes is limited below fault damage zone

Henig, AS, Blackman DK, Harding AJ, Canales JP, Kent GM.  2012.  Downward continued multichannel seismic refraction analysis of Atlantis Massif oceanic core complex, 30 degrees N, Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 13   10.1029/2012gc004059   AbstractWebsite

Detailed seismic refraction results show striking lateral and vertical variability of velocity structure within the Atlantis Massif oceanic core complex (OCC), contrasting notably with its conjugate ridge flank. Multichannel seismic (MCS) data are downward continued using the Synthetic On Bottom Experiment (SOBE) method, providing unprecedented detail in tomographic models of the P-wave velocity structure to subseafloor depths of up to 1.5 km. Velocities can vary up to 3 km/s over several hundred meters and unusually high velocities (similar to 5 km/s) are found immediately beneath the seafloor in key regions. Correlation with in situ and dredged rock samples, video and records from submersible dives, and a 1.415 km drill core, allow us to infer dominant lithologies. A high velocity body(ies) found to shoal near to the seafloor in multiple locations is interpreted as gabbro and is displaced along isochrons within the OCC, indicating a propagating magmatic source as the origin for this pluton(s). The western two-thirds of the Southern Ridge is capped in serpentinite that may extend nearly to the base of our ray coverage. The distribution of inferred serpentinite indicates that the gabbroic pluton(s) was emplaced into a dominantly peridotitic host rock. Presumably the mantle host rock was later altered via seawater penetration along the detachment zone, which controlled development of the OCC. The asymmetric distribution of seismic velocities and morphology of Atlantis Massif are consistent with a detachment fault with a component of dip to the southeast. The lowest velocities observed atop the eastern Central Dome and conjugate crust are most likely volcanics. Here, an updated model of the magmatic and extensional faulting processes at Atlantis Massif is deduced from the seismic results, contributing more generally to understanding the processes controlling the formation of heterogeneous lithosphere at slow-rate spreading centers.

Brothers, D, Harding A, Gonzalez-Fernandez A, Holbrook WS, Kent G, Driscoll N, Fletcher J, Lizarralde D, Umhoefer P, Axen G.  2012.  Farallon slab detachment and deformation of the Magdalena Shelf, southern Baja California. Geophysical Research Letters. 39   10.1029/2011gl050828   AbstractWebsite

Subduction of the Farallon plate beneath northwestern Mexico stalled by similar to 12 Ma when the Pacific-Farallon spreading-ridge approached the subduction zone. Coupling between remnant slab and the overriding North American plate played an important role in the capture of the Baja California (BC) microplate by the Pacific Plate. Active-source seismic reflection and wide-angle seismic refraction profiles across southwestern BC (similar to 24.5 degrees N) are used to image the extent of remnant slab and study its impact on the overriding plate. We infer that the hot, buoyant slab detached similar to 40 km landward of the fossil trench. Isostatic rebound following slab detachment uplifted the margin and exposed the Magdalena Shelf to wave-base erosion. Subsequent cooling, subsidence and transtensional opening along the shelf (starting similar to 8 Ma) starved the fossil trench of terrigenous sediment input. Slab detachment and the resultant rebound of the margin provide a mechanism for rapid uplift and exhumation of forearc subduction complexes. Citation: Brothers, D., A. Harding, A. Gonzalez-Fernandez, W. S. Holbrook, G. Kent, N. Driscoll, J. Fletcher, D. Lizarralde, P. Umhoefer, and G. Axen (2012), Farallon slab detachment and deformation of the Magdalena Shelf, southern Baja California, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L09307, doi:10.1029/2011GL050828.

Canales, JP, Carton H, Mutter JC, Harding A, Carbotte SM, Nedimovic MR.  2012.  Recent Advances in Multichannel Seismic Imaging for Academic Research in Deep Oceanic Environments. Oceanography. 25:113-115. AbstractWebsite
Arnulf, AF, Harding AJ, Singh SC, Kent GM, Crawford W.  2012.  Fine-scale velocity structure of upper oceanic crust from full waveform inversion of downward continued seismic reflection data at the Lucky Strike Volcano, Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Geophysical Research Letters. 39   10.1029/2012gl051064   AbstractWebsite

We present a fine-scale 2D velocity structure beneath the Lucky Strike Volcano on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) using an elastic full waveform inversion (FWI) method. The FWI is a data driven procedure that allows simultaneous exploitation of both reflections and refractions energy in multi-channel seismic data to create a single self-consistent, high-resolution velocity image of the upper crust that can be used for geologic interpretation. The long-wavelength background P-wave velocity model required by the local optimization approach was created using a combination of downward continuation and 3D first-arrival travel-time tomography. The elastic waveform inversion was applied to carefully windowed downward continued data, where wide-angle reflections and refractions arrive in front of the water-wave and are thus isolated from the high-amplitude seafloor scattering energy that is particularly acute in areas of rough igneous seafloor. Waveform inversion reduces the misfit of the initial model by 76% after 19 iterations and strongly reduced the size of the residuals relative to the signal size. The final model shows fine scale structure beneath the northern part of the Lucky Strike volcano on a resolution of tens of meters. Evidence for successive lava sequences testifies to the constructional origin of the upper section of layer 2A. Normal faults are revealed within the shallow crust and are strongly correlated with seafloor observations. Citation: Arnulf, A. F., A. J. Harding, S. C. Singh, G. M. Kent, and W. Crawford (2012), Fine-scale velocity structure of upper oceanic crust from full waveform inversion of downward continued seismic reflection data at the Lucky Strike Volcano, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L08303, doi: 10.1029/2012GL051064.

Arnulf, AF, Singh SC, Harding AJ, Kent GM, Crawford W.  2011.  Strong seismic heterogeneity in layer 2A near hydrothermal vents at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Geophysical Research Letters. 38   10.1029/2011gl047753   AbstractWebsite

We present a high-resolution 3D seismic image beneath the Lucky Strike volcano on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge using streamer tomography. To obtain a high-resolution ray coverage in layer 2A, we first downward continue the multichannel seismic (MCS) data close to the seafloor generating a synthetic ocean bottom experiment (SOBE) and then apply 3D travel-time tomography. We find that the upper crust is laterally heterogeneous on 2-3 km scale, with unusually low velocities (1.8-2.2 km. s(-1)) in the upper few hundred meters beneath the Lucky Strike volcanic edifices, but normal layer 2A velocities (2.2-3.0 km. s(-1)) beneath the lava lake. The low velocities could be due to extremely high porosity (25-50%) in recently erupted, highly fractured pillow lavas. The hydrothermal vent fields seem to lie at the boundary between the high-porosity edifices and the lower porosity lava lake. We have also imaged a reflector at the base of the volcanic edifices that is distinct from the deeper high-velocity gradient transition zone from layer 2A to 2B imaged so far. The new technique provides an image of the oceanic crust with resolutions comparable to that of seafloor geology, leading to new insight about volcanic and hydrothermal processes. Citation: Arnulf, A. F., S. C. Singh, A. J. Harding, G. M. Kent, and W. Crawford (2011), Strong seismic heterogeneity in layer 2A near hydrothermal vents at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L13320, doi:10.1029/2011GL047753.

Holmes, RC, Tolstoy M, Harding AJ, Orcutt JA, Morgan JP.  2010.  Australian Antarctic Discordance as a simple mantle boundary. Geophysical Research Letters. 37   10.1029/2010gl042621   AbstractWebsite

Several complex models require unique mantle conditions to explain the Australian Antarctic Discordance (AAD), an unusually deep and rugged section of the Southeast Indian Ridge (SEIR) between similar to 120 degrees-128 degrees E. Seismic evidence suggests the AAD is instead the manifestation of two contrasting mantle domains converging along its eastern edge. Variations in axial morphology and flanking topographic relief along the SEIR arise as ridge segments to the west (Indian mantle) grade into a cooler melting regime while those to the east (Pacific mantle) are more magmatically robust. Seismic refraction data show crustal thickness decreases from the west into the AAD at a rate of 0.1 km/100 km, then rapidly increases from 4.8 +/- 0.4 km to 7.3 +/- 0.2 km across the eastern border. The AAD thus appears to be the terminal end of a long-wavelength reduction in melt supply at what may be the simplest global example of a mantle boundary. Citation: Holmes, R. C., M. Tolstoy, A. J. Harding, J. A. Orcutt, and J. P. Morgan (2010), Australian Antarctic Discordance as a simple mantle boundary, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L09309, doi: 10.1029/2010GL042621.

Dingler, J, Kent G, Driscoll N, Babcock J, Harding A, Seitz G, Karlin B, Goldman C.  2009.  A high-resolution seismic CHIRP investigation of active normal faulting across Lake Tahoe Basin, California-Nevada. Geological Society of America Bulletin. 121:1089-1107.   10.1130/b26244.1   AbstractWebsite

We measured extension rates across Lake Tahoe Basin for the last 60 ka. based on measured displacement of offset marker surfaces across three active faults beneath Lake Tahoe. Seismic chirp imaging with submeter accuracy, together with detailed multibeam and light detection and ranging (LIDAR)-derived bathymetry, was used to measure fault offset, thickness of earthquake-derived colluvial wedges, depth of wave-cut paleoterraces, and other geomorphic features. An analysis of these features provides refined estimates of extension rates and new information on Holocene faulting, and places Tahoe Basin deformation into the larger context of Walker Lane and Basin and Range tectonics. Measured offset marker surfaces include submerged wave-cut paleoterraces of Tioga age (19.2 +/- 1.8 ka), McKinney Bay slide deposits (ca. 60 ka), and a winnowed boulder surface of Tahoe age (ca. 62 ka). Estimated vertical offset rates across submerged geomorphic surfaces are 0.43-0.81 mm/a for the West Tahoe fault, 0.35-0.60 mm/a for the Stateline-North Tahoe fault, and 0.12-0.30 mm/a for the Incline Village fault. These offset rates indicate a combined east-west extension rate across Lake Tahoe Basin, assuming 60 degrees fault dips, of 0.52-0.99 mm/a. This estimate, when combined with the Genoa fault-slip rate, yields an extension rate consistent with the magnitude of the extension deficit across Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe Basin derived from global positioning system (GPS) velocities. The Stateline-North Tahoe, Incline Village, and West Tahoe faults all show evidence for individual Holocene earthquake events as recorded by either colluvial wedge deposits or offset fan-delta stratigraphy.

Blackman, DK, Canales JP, Harding A.  2009.  Geophysical signatures of oceanic core complexes. Geophysical Journal International. 178:593-613.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04184.x   AbstractWebsite

P>Oceanic core complexes (OCCs) provide access to intrusive and ultramafic sections of young lithosphere and their structure and evolution contain clues about how the balance between magmatism and faulting controls the style of rifting that may dominate in a portion of a spreading centre for Myr timescales. Initial models of the development of OCCs depended strongly on insights available from continental core complexes and from seafloor mapping. While these frameworks have been useful in guiding a broader scope of studies and determining the extent of OCC formation along slow spreading ridges, as we summarize herein, results from the past decade highlight the need to reassess the hypothesis that reduced magma supply is a driver of long-lived detachment faulting. The aim of this paper is to review the available geophysical constraints on OCC structure and to look at what aspects of current models are constrained or required by the data. We consider sonar data (morphology and backscatter), gravity, magnetics, borehole geophysics and seismic reflection. Additional emphasis is placed on seismic velocity results (refraction) since this is where deviations from normal crustal accretion should be most readily quantified. However, as with gravity and magnetic studies at OCCs, ambiguities are inherent in seismic interpretation, including within some processing/analysis steps. We briefly discuss some of these issues for each data type. Progress in understanding the shallow structure of OCCs (within similar to 1 km of the seafloor) is considerable. Firm constraints on deeper structure, particularly characterization of the transition from dominantly mafic rock (and/or altered ultramafic rock) to dominantly fresh mantle peridotite, are not currently in hand. There is limited information on the structure and composition of the conjugate lithosphere accreted to the opposite plate while an OCC forms, commonly on the inside corner of a ridge-offset intersection. These gaps preclude full testing of current models. However, with the data in hand there are systematic patterns in OCC structure, such as the 1-2 Myr duration of this rifting style within a given ridge segment, the height of the domal cores with respect to surrounding seafloor, the correspondence of gravity highs with OCCs, and the persistence of corrugations that mark relative (palaeo) slip along the exposed detachment capping the domal cores. This compilation of geophysical results at OCCs should be useful to investigators new to the topic but we also target advanced researchers in our presentation and synthesis of findings to date.

Brothers, DS, Driscoll NW, Kent GM, Harding AJ, Babcock JM, Baskin RL.  2009.  Tectonic evolution of the Salton Sea inferred from seismic reflection data. Nature Geoscience. 2:581-584.   10.1038/ngeo590   AbstractWebsite

Oblique extension across strike-slip faults causes subsidence and leads to the formation of pull-apart basins such as the Salton Sea in southern California. The formation of these basins has generally been studied using laboratory experiments or numerical models(1-4). Here we combine seismic reflection data and geological observations from the Salton Sea to understand the evolution of this nascent pull-apart basin. Our data reveal the presence of a northeast-trending hinge zone that separates the sea into northern and southern sub-basins. Differential subsidence (>10 mm yr(-1)) in the southern sub-basin suggests the existence of northwest-dipping basin-bounding faults near the southern shoreline, which may control the spatial distribution of young volcanism. Rotated and truncated strata north of the hinge zone suggest that the onset of extension associated with this pull-apart basin began after similar to 0.5 million years ago. We suggest that slip is partitioned spatially and temporally into vertical and horizontal domains in the Salton Sea. In contrast to previous models based on historical seismicity patterns(5), the rapid subsidence and fault architecture that we document in the southern part of the sea are consistent with experimental models for pull-apart basins(1).

Brothers, DS, Kent GM, Driscoll NW, Smith SB, Karlin R, Dingler JA, Harding AJ, Seitz GG, Babcock JM.  2009.  New Constraints on Deformation, Slip Rate, and Timing of the Most Recent Earthquake on the West Tahoe-Dollar Point Fault, Lake Tahoe Basin, California. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 99:499-519.   10.1785/0120080135   AbstractWebsite

High-resolution seismic compressed high intensity Radar pulse (CHIRP) data and piston cores acquired in Fallen Leaf Lake (FLL) and Lake Tahoe provide new paleoseismic constraints on the West Tahoe-Dollar Point fault (WTDPF), the western-most normal fault in the Lake Tahoe Basin, California. Paleoearthquake records along three sections of the WTDPF are investigated to determine the magnitude and recency of coseismic slip. CHIRP profiles image vertically offset and folded strata along the southern and central sections that record deformation associated with the most recent event (MRE) on the WTDPF. Three faults are imaged beneath FLL, and the maximum vertical offset observed across the primary trace of the WTDPF is similar to 3.7 m. Coregistered piston cores in FLL recovered sediment and organic material above and below the MRE horizon. Radiocarbon dating of organic material constrained the age of the MRE to be between 3.6 and 4.9 k.y. B.P., with a preferred age of 4.1-4.5 k.y. B. P. In Lake Tahoe near Rubicon Point, approximately 2.0 m of vertical offset is observed across the WTDPF. Based on nearby core data, the timing of this offset occurred between similar to 3-10 k.y. B.P., which is consistent with the MRE age in FLL. Offset of Tiogaaged glacial deposits provides a long-term record of vertical deformation on the WTDPF since similar to 13-14 k.y. B.P., yielding a slip rate of 0.4-0.8 m/yr. In summary, the slip rate and earthquake potential along the WTDPF is comparable to the nearby Genoa fault, making it the most active and potentially hazardous fault in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Nedimovic, MR, Carbotte SM, Diebold JB, Harding AJ, Canales JP, Kent GM.  2008.  Upper crustal evolution across the Juan de Fuca ridge flanks. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 9   10.1029/2008gc002085   AbstractWebsite

Recent P wave velocity compilations of the oceanic crust indicate that the velocity of the uppermost layer 2A doubles or reaches similar to 4.3 km/s found in mature crust in < 10 Ma after crustal formation. This velocity change is commonly attributed to precipitation of low-temperature alteration minerals within the extrusive rocks associated with ridge-flank hydrothermal circulation. Sediment blanketing, acting as a thermal insulator, has been proposed to further accelerate layer 2A evolution by enhancing mineral precipitation. We carried out 1-D traveltime modeling on common midpoint supergathers from our 2002 Juan de Fuca ridge multichannel seismic data to determine upper crustal structure at similar to 3 km intervals along 300 km long transects crossing the Endeavor, Northern Symmetric, and Cleft ridge segments. Our results show a regional correlation between upper crustal velocity and crustal age. The measured velocity increase with crustal age is not uniform across the investigated ridge flanks. For the ridge flanks blanketed with a sealing sedimentary cover, the velocity increase is double that observed on the sparsely and discontinuously sedimented flanks (similar to 60% increase versus similar to 28%) over the same crustal age range of 5-9 Ma. Extrapolation of velocity-age gradients indicates that layer 2A velocity reaches 4.3 km/s by similar to 8 Ma on the sediment blanketed flanks compared to similar to 16 Ma on the flanks with thin and discontinuous sediment cover. The computed thickness gradients show that layer 2A does not thin and disappear in the Juan de Fuca region with increasing crustal age or sediment blanketing but persists as a relatively low seismic velocity layer capping the deeper oceanic crust. However, layer 2A on the fully sedimented ridge-flank sections is on average thinner than on the sparsely and discontinuously sedimented flanks (330 +/- 80 versus 430 +/- 80 m). The change in thickness occurs over a 10-20 km distance coincident with the onset of sediment burial. Our results also suggest that propagator wakes can have atypical layer 2A thickness and velocity. Impact of propagator wakes is evident in the chemical signature of the fluids sampled by ODP drill holes along the east Endeavor transect, providing further indication that these crustal discontinuities may be sites of localized fluid flow and alteration.

Paramo, P, Holbrook WS, Brown HE, Lizarralde D, Fletcher J, Umhoefer P, Kent G, Harding A, Gonzalez A, Axen G.  2008.  Seismic structure of the southern Gulf of California from Los Cabos block to the East Pacific Rise. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 113   10.1029/2007jb005113   AbstractWebsite

Multichannel reflection and coincident wide-angle seismic data collected during the 2002 Premier Experiment, Sea of Cortez, Addressing the Development of Oblique Rifting (PESCADOR) experiment provide the most detailed seismic structure to date of the southern Gulf of California. Multichannel seismic (MCS) data were recorded with a 6-km-long streamer, 480-channel, aboard the R/V Maurice Ewing, and wide-angle data was recorded by 19 instruments spaced every similar to 12 km along the transect. The MCS and wide-angle data reveal the seismic structure across the continent-ocean transition of the rifted margin. Typical continental and oceanic crust are separated by a similar to 75-km-wide zone of extended continental crust dominated by block-faulted basement. Little lateral variation in crustal thicknesses and seismic velocities is observed in the oceanic crust, suggesting a constant rate of magmatic productivity since seafloor spreading began. Oceanic crustal thickness and mean crustal velocities suggest normal mantle temperature (1300 degrees C) and passive mantle upwelling at the early stages of seafloor spreading. The crustal thickness, width of extended continental crust, and predicted temperature conditions all indicate a narrow rift mode of extension. On the basis of upper and lower crust stretching factors, an excess of lower crust was found in the extended continental crust. Total extension along transect 5W is estimated to be similar to 35 km. Following crustal extension, new oceanic crust similar to 6.4-km-thick was formed at a rate of similar to 48 mm a(-1) to accommodate plate separation.

Carbotte, SM, Nedimovic MR, Canales JP, Kent GM, Harding AJ, Marjanovic M.  2008.  Variable crustal structure along the Juan de Fuca Ridge: Influence of on-axis hot spots and absolute plate motions. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 9   10.1029/2007gc001922   AbstractWebsite

Multichannel seismic and bathymetric data from the Juan de Fuca Ridge (JDFR) provide constraints on axial and ridge flank structure for the past 4-8 Ma within three spreading corridors crossing Cleft, Northern Symmetric, and Endeavour segments. Along-axis data reveal south-to-north gradients in seafloor relief and presence and depth of the crustal magma lens, which indicate a warmer axial regime to the south, both on a regional scale and within individual segments. For young crust, cross-axis lines reveal differences between segments in Moho two-way traveltimes of 200-300 ms which indicate 0.5-1 km thicker crust at Endeavour and Cleft compared to Northern Symmetric. Moho traveltime anomalies extend beyond the 5-15 km wide axial high and coincide with distinct plateaus, 32 and 40 km wide and 200-400 m high, found at both segments. On older crust, Moho traveltimes are similar for all three segments (similar to 2100 +/- 100 ms), indicating little difference in average crustal production prior to similar to 0.6 and 0.7 Ma. The presence of broad axis-centered bathymetric plateau with thickened crust at Cleft and Endeavour segments is attributed to recent initiation of ridge axis-centered melt anomalies associated with the Cobb hot spot and the Heckle melt anomaly. Increased melt supply at Cleft segment upon initiation of Axial Volcano and southward propagation of Endeavour segment during the Brunhes point to rapid southward directed along-axis channeling of melt anomalies linked to these hot spots. Preferential southward flow of the Cobb and Heckle melt anomalies and the regional-scale south-to-north gradients in ridge structure along the JDFR may reflect influence of the northwesterly absolute motion of the ridge axis on subaxial melt distribution.

Jacobs, AM, Harding AJ, Kent GM.  2007.  Axial crustal structure of the Lau back-arc basin from velocity modeling of multichannel seismic data. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 259:239-255.   10.1016/j.epsl.2007.04.021   AbstractWebsite

Located west of the Tonga trench, the Lau back-arc basin is a prime environment for studying the interplay between oceanic spreadinga systems and an active subduction zone. Within the basin lie two complementary, intermediate-rate spreading systems, the Central Lau Spreading Center (CLSC) and the Eastern Lau Spreading Center/Valu Fa Ridge (ELSC/VFR), that are positioned 170 to 40 km away from the active volcanic arc, respectively. Multichannel seismic (MCS) images of both systems reveal systematic variations in axial crustal structure primarily related to the proximity of the volcanic arc, but also related to spreading rate, morphology, and petrology. Upper crustal refraction data selected from the along-axis seismic lines collected during the 1999 MCS survey were modeled in both the time-versus-range (t-x) and intercept time-versus-slowness (T p) domains to provide validation and detail to the seismic reflection observations. The results show that as both the proximity to the arc and the spreading rate decrease southward: 1) seismic layer 2A thickens by 0.6 km between the CLSC and VFR, from 0.4 km to 1.0 km, 2) the average depth of the axial magma chamber (AMC) increases from 1.5 km at the CLSC to 2.8 kin at the southern VFR, excluding the northern section of the ELSC that shows no continuous AMC reflector, but does show an isolated melt sill, 3) the upper crustal basement velocity decreases from 2.1 km/s at the CLSC to 1.8 km/s at the VFR, and 4) the velocities of both layer 2A and 2B decrease between the CLSC and northern VFR from 3.2 to 2.5 km/s and 5.0 to 3.9 km/s, respectively. Along with a broad axial high morphology, these features of the CLSC - thinner layer 2A, shallower AMC, and faster crustal velocities - correlate best with the fast spreading East Pacific Rise and intermediate spreading Juan de Fuca Ridge. Conversely, the structural characteristics of the central ELSC/VFR have no known counterpart in the global mid-ocean ridge system. We attribute this primarily to the volatile concentration in the magmas coming from the Tonga Subduction zone. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Lizarralde, D, Axen GJ, Brown HE, Fletcher JM, Gonzalez-Fernandez A, Harding AJ, Holbrook WS, Kent GM, Paramo P, Sutherland F, Umhoefer PJ.  2007.  Variation in styles of rifting in the Gulf of California. Nature. 448:466-469.   10.1038/nature06035   AbstractWebsite

Constraints on the structure of rifted continental margins and the magmatism resulting from such rifting can help refine our understanding of the strength of the lithosphere, the state of the underlying mantle and the transition from rifting to seafloor spreading. An important structural classification of rifts is by width(1), with narrow rifts thought to form as necking instabilities(2) ( where extension rates outpace thermal diffusion(3)) and wide rifts thought to require a mechanism to inhibit localization, such as lower-crustal flow in high heat-flow settings(1,4). Observations of the magmatism that results from rifting range from volcanic margins with two to three times the magmatism predicted from melting models(5) to non-volcanic margins with almost no rift or post-rift magmatism. Such variations in magmatic activity are commonly attributed to variations in mantle temperature. Here we describe results from the PESCADOR seismic experiment in the southern Gulf of California and present crustal-scale images across three rift segments. Over short lateral distances, we observe large differences in rifting style and magmatism - from wide rifting with minor synchronous magmatism to narrow rifting in magmatically robust segments. But many of the factors believed to control structural evolution and magmatism during rifting ( extension rate, mantle potential temperature and heat flow) tend to vary over larger length scales. We conclude instead that mantle depletion, rather than low mantle temperature, accounts for the observed wide, magma-poor margins, and that mantle fertility and possibly sedimentary insulation, rather than high mantle temperature, account for the observed robust rift and post-rift magmatism.

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   10.1029/2005jb004210   AbstractWebsite

[ 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.