Oceanic transform faults respond to changes in the direction of relative plate motion. Studies have shown that short-offset transforms generally adjust with slight bends near the ridge axis, while long-offset ones have a remarkably different behavior. The western Pacific-Antarctic plate boundary highlights these differences. A set of previously unpublished seismic profiles, in combination with magnetic anomaly identifications, shows how across a former, ~1250 km long transform (the Emerald Fracture Zone), plate motion changes have produced a complex geometric readjustment. Three distinct sections are recognized along this plate boundary: an eastern section, characterized by parallel, multiple fault strand lineaments; a central section, shallower than the rest of the ridge system, overprinted by a mantle plume track; and a western section, organized in a cascade of short spreading axes/transform lineaments. This configuration was produced by changes that occurred since 30 Ma in the Australia-Pacific relative plate motion, combined with a gradual clockwise change in Pacific-Antarctic plate motion. These events caused extension along the former Emerald Fracture Zone, originally linking the Pacific-Antarctic spreading ridge system with the Southeast Indian ridge. Then an intra-transform propagating ridge started to develop in response to a ~6 Ma change in the Pacific-Antarctic spreading direction. The close proximity of the Euler poles of rotation amplified the effects of the geometric readjustments that occurred along the transform system. This analysis shows that when a long-offset transform older than 20 Ma is pulled apart by changes in spreading velocity vectors, it responds with the development of multiple discrete, parallel fault strands, whereas in younger lithosphere, locally modified by thermal anisotropies, tensional stresses generate an array of spreading axes offset by closely spaced transforms

How do long-offset oceanic transforms adapt to plate motion changes? The example of the Western Pacific-Antarctic plate boundary

Lodolo E.;Coren F;
2013

Abstract

Oceanic transform faults respond to changes in the direction of relative plate motion. Studies have shown that short-offset transforms generally adjust with slight bends near the ridge axis, while long-offset ones have a remarkably different behavior. The western Pacific-Antarctic plate boundary highlights these differences. A set of previously unpublished seismic profiles, in combination with magnetic anomaly identifications, shows how across a former, ~1250 km long transform (the Emerald Fracture Zone), plate motion changes have produced a complex geometric readjustment. Three distinct sections are recognized along this plate boundary: an eastern section, characterized by parallel, multiple fault strand lineaments; a central section, shallower than the rest of the ridge system, overprinted by a mantle plume track; and a western section, organized in a cascade of short spreading axes/transform lineaments. This configuration was produced by changes that occurred since 30 Ma in the Australia-Pacific relative plate motion, combined with a gradual clockwise change in Pacific-Antarctic plate motion. These events caused extension along the former Emerald Fracture Zone, originally linking the Pacific-Antarctic spreading ridge system with the Southeast Indian ridge. Then an intra-transform propagating ridge started to develop in response to a ~6 Ma change in the Pacific-Antarctic spreading direction. The close proximity of the Euler poles of rotation amplified the effects of the geometric readjustments that occurred along the transform system. This analysis shows that when a long-offset transform older than 20 Ma is pulled apart by changes in spreading velocity vectors, it responds with the development of multiple discrete, parallel fault strands, whereas in younger lithosphere, locally modified by thermal anisotropies, tensional stresses generate an array of spreading axes offset by closely spaced transforms
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/110
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