On the Source of Cross-Grain Lineations in the Central Pacific Gravity-Field

McAdoo, DC, Sandwell DT.  1989.  On the Source of Cross-Grain Lineations in the Central Pacific Gravity-Field. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 94:9341-9352.

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Subtle lineations in the marine gravity field of the central Pacific derived from Seasat altimeter data were observed by Haxby and Weissel (1986). They suggested that these “cross-grain” lineations were evidence of small-scale convection beneath the Pacific plate. We have examined these features by comparing multiple, collinear gravity and bathymetry profiles in the Fourier transform domain. Our nine gravity profiles were each obtained by stacking (averaging) three or more individual, repeat Geosat/ERM altimeter passes. Prior to stacking, the individual Geosat passes were fit to a cubic spline and then differentiated along track to produce along-track deflections of the vertical (or horizontal gravity). Corresponding bathymetric profiles were produced by projecting, onto Geosat ground tracks, bathymetric observations from six R/V Thomas Washington legs and three R/V Conrad legs that virtually coincide with these Geosat tracks. After Fourier transforming the resulting gravity and bathymetry profiles, we estimate admittances of gravity to bathymetry. These admittances are generally low; they also tend to be negative at very short wavelengths (λ<50 km). They are consistent with models of flexural isostatic compensation by a very thin lithosphere (approximately 2 km). They are not consistent with models of dynamic compensation. We suggest, therefore, that either (1) these cross-grain lineations began to form very near the East Pacific Rise or (2) they formed on older, anomalously weak lithosphere. We also suggest that the gravity lineations result primarily from loads beneath the seafloor in combination with, secondarily, loads on the seafloor. Depths of these subseafloor loads appear not to exceed significantly typical Moho depths.