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Unraveling the link between magma and deformation during slow seafloor spreading
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  • Yanghui Zhao,
  • Weiwei Ding,
  • Gianreto Manatschal,
  • Xiaodong Wei,
  • Hanghang Ding,
  • Zhengyi Tong,
  • Jingyan Zhao
Yanghui Zhao
Second Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Weiwei Ding
the Second Insititue of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration of China
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Gianreto Manatschal
EOST-UDS, Strasbourg
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Xiaodong Wei
Second Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources
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Hanghang Ding
The Second Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources, China
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Zhengyi Tong
School of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University
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Jingyan Zhao
Second Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources
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Detachment faulting related to oceanic core complexes (OCCs) has been suggested to be a manifestation of slow seafloor spreading. Although numerical models suggest OCCs form under low magma supply, the specific interaction between magmatism and tectonic faulting remains elusive. This paper examines seismic observations detailing the spatiotemporal interactions between magmatism, high-angle faulting, and detachment faulting at a slow-spreading mid-ocean ridge in the West Philippine Basin. We identified a magma-rich spreading phase at 36 Ma, indicated by a magmatic top basement and normal oceanic crust with shallow-penetrating high-angle faults. An axial valley reveals an along-strike transition from normal to highly tectonized oceanic crust over a distance of 70 km. Two older OCCs with concave-down fault geometries and a younger OCC with steep-dipping faulting suggest sequential detachments with the same polarity. Our findings suggest: (1) slow seafloor spreading is cyclical, alternating between high-angle faulting with a relatively high magma supply and detachment faulting with limited magma supply; (2) sequential development of younger detachments in the footwall of its predecessor leads to an asymmetric split in the newly accreted crust; and (3) the life cycle of OCC ends with high-angle faults that overprint the detachment and act as magma pathways, sealing the OCC. Our study captures the dynamic interaction between high-angle and detachment faults and their concurrent and subsequent relationship to magmatic systems. This reveals that strain distribution along strike is critical to OCC formation, thus enriching our understanding beyond conventional considerations such as spreading rates and melt budgets at mid-ocean ridges.
19 Oct 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
27 Oct 2023Published in ESS Open Archive