Mineralization at oceanic transform faults and fracture zones

By:  and 
Edited by: Joao C. Duarte



Mineral formation in the modern oceans can take place over millions of years as a result precipitation from ambient ocean water, or orders of magnitude more rapidly from hydrothermal activity related to magmatic and tectonic processes. Here, we review associations between transform faults and related fracture zones and marine minerals. We define marine transform faults as strike-slip or oblique faults that accommodate lateral offsets along plate boundaries or shifting crustal blocks, and fracture zones as relicts of transform faulting extending beyond mid-ocean ridge offsets. We consider specifically the modern ocean and exclude regions where the transform or fracture has clearly not generated the mineral deposit, such as the Clarion-Clipperton fracture zone manganese nodule field. As a result, the summarized deposits are mainly hydrothermal in origin.

Oceanic transform faulting has rarely been considered of interest for the mineralization and formation of ore deposits; however, there are locations in the modern oceans where transform faults and fracture zones are spatially related to mineral deposits. These occurrences suggest that transform faulting and fracture zones may be linked to mineralization at (A) intersections with other tectonic features, (B) where transform faults begin to resemble rifts through intra-transform crustal thinning, spreading, and the formation of pull-apart basins, and (C) as a result of serpentinization reactions due to exposure of deep-seated rocks by fracturing and faulting.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Mineralization at oceanic transform faults and fracture zones
ISBN 978-0128120644
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-812064-4.00005-0
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 14 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Transform plate boundaries and fracture zones
First page 105
Last page 118
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