Marine Science Faculty Publications

The Pacific-Antarctic Ridge–Foundation Hotspot Interaction: a Case Study of a Ridge Approaching a Hotspot

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Mid-oceanic ridge, Hotspot, Gravity, Bathymetry

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The Foundation hotspot–Pacific-Antarctic Ridge (PAR) system is the best documented case of a fast spreading ridge approaching a hotspot and interacting with it. The morphology, crustal structure inferred from gravity anomalies and the chemical composition of the lavas of the axial area of the PAR show evidence of the influence of the hotspot, that is presently located roughly 35 km west of the spreading ridge axis. Along-axis variation in the Mantle Bouguer anomaly is about 28 mGal, corresponding to a crustal thickening of 1.5 km where the hotspot is nearer to the PAR. Anomalous ridge elevation is 650 m and the along-axis width of the chemical anomaly is 200 km. A comparison of these axial parameters with those derived for other ridge–hotspot systems, suggests that the amount of plume material reaching the ridge axis is smaller for the Foundation–PAR system. This implies a weaker connection between the plume and the ridge. Cumulative effects of a fast spreading rate and of a fast ridge–hotspot relative motion can be responsible for this weak plume–ridge flow. The flow from the hotspot may be less efficiently channelled towards the ridge axis when a fast ridge is rapidly moving towards a hotspot.

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Marine Geology, v. 167, issue 1-2, p. 61-84