Publications

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2016
Harding, AJ, Arnulf AF, Blackman DK.  2016.  Velocity structure near IODP Hole U1309D, Atlantis Massif, from waveform inversion of streamer data and borehole measurements. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 17:1990-2014.   10.1002/2016gc006312   AbstractWebsite

Seismic full waveform inversion (FWI) is a promising method for determining the detailed velocity structure of the igneous oceanic crust, especially for locations such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge with significant lateral heterogeneity and seafloor topography. We examine the accuracy of FWI by inverting, after downward continuation to datum just above the seafloor, a multichannel seismic (MCS) profile from Atlantis Massif oceanic core complex at 30 degrees N that passes close to Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Hole U1309D and comparing the results against borehole measurements and existing on-bottom refraction data. The comparisons include the results of IODP Expedition 340T, which extended the sonic logging and vertical seismic profiling to the bottom of the borehole at 1400 m below seafloor. Compared to travel time tomography, the refinement in velocity and velocity gradient produced by FWI significantly improves the overall match to the borehole measurements, and allows the multilevel pattern of deformation and alteration of the detachment footwall seen in Hole U1309D to be extrapolated across the Central Dome. Prestack depth migration of the profile using the FWI velocities reveals the top and edges of the high-velocity, gabbroic core of the massif. It also indicates that the comparatively uniform gabbroic rocks drilled at Hole U1309D extend to approximate to 2.5 km below seafloor but overlie an extended, approximate to 2 km thick, mantle transition zone.

2014
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

2012
Henig, AS, Blackman DK, Harding AJ, Canales JP, Kent GM.  2012.  Downward continued multichannel seismic refraction analysis of Atlantis Massif oceanic core complex, 30°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.

2009
Collins, JA, Blackman DK, Harris A, Carlson RL.  2009.  Seismic and drilling constraints on velocity structure and reflectivity near IODP Hole U1309D on the central dome of Atlantis Massif, Mid-Atlantic Ridge 30°N. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 10   10.1029/2008gc002121   AbstractWebsite

The seismic structure of the upper similar to 1 km of the central dome of Atlantis Massif is investigated in the context of lithologies known from seafloor drilling and physical property measurements obtained within the borehole and on core samples. A new analysis of seafloor refraction data and multichannel reflection data acquired in the immediate vicinity of Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Site U1309 was motivated by a discrepancy between initial seismic interpretations, which indicated mantle velocities at shallow depth, and the gabbroic sequence recovered by drilling. A new seismic velocity model is derived that is consistent with the full suite of geological and geophysical data in the central dome area; all of these data show that mafic intrusive rocks dominate the upper portion of the footwall of this oceanic core complex and that laterally extensive zones of ultramafic rocks are not required by the data. The origin of subseafloor reflectivity beneath the central dome was also considered. We find that seafloor scattering complicates the interpretation of multichannel seismic data acquired near Site U1309 but that detectable subsurface impedance contrasts do occur. Downhole variations in alteration may generate reflections observed from the upper kilometer of the central dome.

2008
Blackman, DK, Karner GD, Searle RC.  2008.  Three-dimensional structure of oceanic core complexes: Effects on gravity signature and ridge flank morphology, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 30°N. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 9   10.1029/2008gc001951   AbstractWebsite

Our gravity modeling of oceanic core complexes formed at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near 30 degrees N suggests that their shallow, domal "cores'' could be dominated by mafic intrusive rocks, consistent with recent drilling results at Atlantis Massif. The three-dimensional gravity analysis incorporates additional underway geophysics data in a new compilation and uses a higher-resolution bathymetry model to remove the gravity contribution of seafloor topography. The additional detail is required in order to confidently relate few-kilometer-scale gravity anomalies to specific morphologic/tectonic blocks. Different models of subseafloor core complex structure and density are tested to determine which minimizes the local gravity anomaly. A 3-D core with density 2900 kg/m(3), as measured in the gabbroic section drilled at the central dome, and juxtaposed 3-D hanging wall of fractured basalt, density similar to 2600 kg/m(3), satisfactorily explains most of the Bouguer gravity anomaly at Atlantis Massif. The capping detachment fault terminates or plunges northward beneath the seafloor at the northern limit of the central dome. The southwest shoulder of the massif has lower density, consistent with an upper crustal section similar to 1 km thick, whereas the summit and southeastern shoulder have overall density similar to the central dome. The older core complexes distributed along Atlantis fracture zone are similar in size, depth, and distance of their summit from the transform fault. However, weathering/alteration probably has reduced their density somewhat compared to Atlantis Massif. Bathymetric embayments occur adjacent to the fracture zone in several places on the ridge flanks and are consistently associated with core complexes.

2007
Ildefonse, B, Blackman DK, John BE, Ohara Y, Miller DJ, MacLeod CJ, IODP Expeditions 304/305 Science Party.  2007.  Oceanic core complexes and crustal accretion at slow-spreading ridges. Geology. 35:623-626.   10.1130/g23531a.1   AbstractWebsite

Oceanic core complexes expose gabbroic rocks on the sealloor via detachment faulting, often associated with serpentinized peridotite. The thickness of these serpentinite units is unknown. Assuming that the steep slopes that typically surround these core complexes provide a cross section through the structure, it has been inferred that serpentinites compose much of the section to depths of at least several hundred meters. However, deep drilling at oceanic core complexes has recovered gabbroic sequences with virtually no serpentinized peridotite. We propose a revised model for oceanic core complex development based on consideration of the rheological differences between gabbro and serpentinized peridotite: emplacement of a large intrusive gabbro body into a predominantly peridotite host is followed by localization of strain around the margins of the pluton, eventually resulting in an uplifted gabbroic core surrounded by deformed serpentinite. Oceanic core complexes may therefore reflect processes associated with relatively enhanced periods of mafic intrusion within overall magma-poor regions of slow- and ultra-slow-spreading ridges.

2005
van Wijk, JW, Blackman DK.  2005.  Deformation of oceanic lithosphere near slow-spreading ridge discontinuities. Tectonophysics. 407:211-225.   10.1016/j.tecto.2005.08.009   AbstractWebsite

Transform and non-transform discontinuities that offset slow spreading mid-ocean ridges involve complex thermal and mechanical interactions. The truncation of the ridge axis influences the dynamics of spreading and accretion over a certain distance from the segment-end. Likewise, the spreading system is expected to influence the lithospheric plate adjacent to the ridge-end opposite of the discontinuity. Tectonic effects of the truncated ridge are noticeable in for example the contrast between seafloor topography at inside comers and outside comers, along-axis variations in rift valley depth, style of crustal accretion, and ridge segment retreat and lengthening. Along such slow-spreading discontinuities and their fossil traces, oceanic core complexes or mega-mullion structures are rather common extensional tectonic features. In an attempt to understand deforrnation of oceanic lithosphere near ridge offsets, the evolution of discontinuities, and conditions that may favor oceanic core complex formation, a three-dimensional thermo-mechanical model has been developed. The numerical approach allows for a more complete assessment of lithosphere deformation and associated stress fields in inside comers than was possible in previous 3-D models. The initial suite of results reported here focuses on deformation when axial properties do not vary along-strike or with time, showing the extent to which plate boundary geometry alone can influence deformation. We find that non-transform discontinuities are represented by a wide, oblique deformation zone that tends to change orientation with time to become more parallel to the ridge segments. This contrasts with predicted deformation near transform discontinuities, where initial orientation is maintained in time. The boundary between the plates is found to be vertical in the center of the offset and curved at depth in the inside comers near the ridge-transform intersection. Ridge-normal tensile stresses concentrate in line with the ridge tip, extending onto the older plate across the discontinuity, and high stress amplitudes are absent in the inside comers during the magmatic accretionary phase simulated by our models. With the tested rheology and boundary conditions, inside corner formation of oceanic core complexes is predicted to be unlikely during magmatic spreading phases. Additional modeling studies are needed for a full understanding of extensional stress release in relatively young oceanic lithosphere. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.