Cooling rates and the depth of detachment faulting at oceanic core complexes: Evidence from zircon Pb/U and (U-Th)/He ages

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
By: , and 

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Abstract

Oceanic detachment faulting represents a distinct mode of seafloor spreading at slow spreading mid-ocean ridges, but many questions persist about the thermal evolution and depth of faulting. We present new Pb/U and (U-Th)/He zircon ages and combine them with magnetic anomaly ages to define the cooling histories of gabbroic crust exposed by oceanic detachment faults at three sites along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) holes 1270D and 1275D near the 15??20???N Transform, and Atlantis Massif at 30??N). Closure temperatures for the Pb/U (???800??C-850??C) and (U-Th)/He (???210??C) isotopic systems in zircon bracket acquisition of magnetic remanence, collectively providing a temperature-time history during faulting. Results indicate cooling to ???200??C in 0.3-0.5 Myr after zircon crystallization, recording time-averaged cooling rates of ???1000??C- 2000??C/Myr. Assuming the footwalls were denuded along single continuous faults, differences in Pb/U and (U-Th)/He zircon ages together with independently determined slip rates allow the distance between the ???850??C and ???200??C isotherms along the fault plane to be estimated. Calculated distances are 8.4 ?? 4.2 km and 5.0 2.1 km from holes 1275D and 1270D and 8.4 ?? 1.4 km at Atlantis Massif. Estimating an initial subsurface fault dip of 50 and a depth of 1.5 km to the 200??C isotherm leads to the prediction that the ???850??C isotherm lies ???5-7 km below seafloor at the time of faulting. These depth estimates for active fault systems are consistent with depths of microseismicity observed beneath the hypothesized detachment fault at the TAG hydrothermal field and high-temperature fault rocks recovered from many oceanic detachment faults. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Cooling rates and the depth of detachment faulting at oceanic core complexes: Evidence from zircon Pb/U and (U-Th)/He ages
Series title Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
DOI 10.1029/2010GC003391
Volume 12
Issue 3
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems