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Upper mantle anisotropic shear velocity structure at the equatorial mid-atlantic ridge constrained by Rayleigh Wave Group velocity analysis from the PI-LAB experiment

Upper mantle anisotropic shear velocity structure at the equatorial mid-atlantic ridge constrained by Rayleigh Wave Group velocity analysis from the PI-LAB experiment
Upper mantle anisotropic shear velocity structure at the equatorial mid-atlantic ridge constrained by Rayleigh Wave Group velocity analysis from the PI-LAB experiment

The evolution of ocean lithosphere and asthenosphere are fundamental to plate tectonics, yet high resolution imaging is rare. We present shear wave velocity and azimuthal anisotropy models for the upper mantle from Rayleigh wave group velocities from local earthquake and ambient noise at 15–40-s period recorded by the Passive Imaging of the Lithosphere Asthenosphere Boundary experiment at the equatorial Mid-Atlantic Ridge covering 0–80-Myr-old seafloor. We find slow velocities along the ridge, with faster velocities beneath older seafloor. We image a fast lid (25–30-km thick) beneath the ridge that increases to 50–60 km beneath older seafloor. Punctuated, ∼100 km wide low velocity anomalies exist off-axis. There are multiple layers of azimuthal anisotropy, including (i) a lithosphere (20–40 km depth) characterized by strong anisotropy (4.0%–7.0 %) with fast-axes that rotate from ridge subparallel toward the absolute plate motion/spreading direction at distances >60 km from the ridge, and (ii) weak anisotropy (1.0%–2.0%) at >40 km depth. Our results are consistent with conductive cooling of lithosphere, although with some complexities. Thickened lithosphere beneath the ridge supports lateral conductive cooling beneath slow-spreading centers. Undulations in lithospheric thickness and slow asthenospheric velocities are consistent with small scale convection and/or partial melt. Lithospheric anisotropy can be explained by vertical flow and a contribution from either fluid or mineral filled cracks organized melt beneath the ridge and plate motion induced strain off axis. Deep azimuthal anisotropy is suggestive of upwelling beneath the ridge and three-dimensional flow possibly caused by small scale convection off-axis.

asthenosphere, azimuthal anisotropy, lithosphere, Mid-Atlantic ridge, shear wave velocity
1525-2027
Saikia, Utpal
fdc84905-f84a-459f-b689-e22f5a642a02
Rychert, Catherine
70cf1e3a-58ea-455a-918a-1d570c5e53c5
Harmon, Nicholas
10d11a16-b8b0-4132-9354-652e72d8e830
Kendall, J. M.
75316041-6b50-4c15-84fb-ef6b4fc64058
Saikia, Utpal
fdc84905-f84a-459f-b689-e22f5a642a02
Rychert, Catherine
70cf1e3a-58ea-455a-918a-1d570c5e53c5
Harmon, Nicholas
10d11a16-b8b0-4132-9354-652e72d8e830
Kendall, J. M.
75316041-6b50-4c15-84fb-ef6b4fc64058

Saikia, Utpal, Rychert, Catherine, Harmon, Nicholas and Kendall, J. M. (2021) Upper mantle anisotropic shear velocity structure at the equatorial mid-atlantic ridge constrained by Rayleigh Wave Group velocity analysis from the PI-LAB experiment. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 22 (3), [e2020GC009495]. (doi:10.1029/2020GC009495).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The evolution of ocean lithosphere and asthenosphere are fundamental to plate tectonics, yet high resolution imaging is rare. We present shear wave velocity and azimuthal anisotropy models for the upper mantle from Rayleigh wave group velocities from local earthquake and ambient noise at 15–40-s period recorded by the Passive Imaging of the Lithosphere Asthenosphere Boundary experiment at the equatorial Mid-Atlantic Ridge covering 0–80-Myr-old seafloor. We find slow velocities along the ridge, with faster velocities beneath older seafloor. We image a fast lid (25–30-km thick) beneath the ridge that increases to 50–60 km beneath older seafloor. Punctuated, ∼100 km wide low velocity anomalies exist off-axis. There are multiple layers of azimuthal anisotropy, including (i) a lithosphere (20–40 km depth) characterized by strong anisotropy (4.0%–7.0 %) with fast-axes that rotate from ridge subparallel toward the absolute plate motion/spreading direction at distances >60 km from the ridge, and (ii) weak anisotropy (1.0%–2.0%) at >40 km depth. Our results are consistent with conductive cooling of lithosphere, although with some complexities. Thickened lithosphere beneath the ridge supports lateral conductive cooling beneath slow-spreading centers. Undulations in lithospheric thickness and slow asthenospheric velocities are consistent with small scale convection and/or partial melt. Lithospheric anisotropy can be explained by vertical flow and a contribution from either fluid or mineral filled cracks organized melt beneath the ridge and plate motion induced strain off axis. Deep azimuthal anisotropy is suggestive of upwelling beneath the ridge and three-dimensional flow possibly caused by small scale convection off-axis.

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More information

Published date: 1 March 2021
Additional Information: Funding Information: We acknowledge funding from the National Research Council (NE/M003507/1 and NE/K010654/1) and the European Research Council (GA 638665). Ocean‐bottom seismometers were provided by Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, and the institute de Physique de Globe de Paris. Data can be found from Rychert et al., (2016). The authors would like to thank the crew about the ships RV Marcus G Langseth (MGL1602) and the RRS Discovery (DY072). Funding Information: We acknowledge funding from the National Research Council (NE/M003507/1 and NE/K010654/1) and the European Research Council (GA 638665). Ocean-bottom seismometers were provided by Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and the institute de Physique de Globe de Paris. Data can be found from Rychert et al., (2016). The authors would like to thank the crew about the ships RV Marcus G Langseth (MGL1602) and the RRS Discovery (DY072). Publisher Copyright: © 2021. The Authors. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: asthenosphere, azimuthal anisotropy, lithosphere, Mid-Atlantic ridge, shear wave velocity

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 449689
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/449689
ISSN: 1525-2027
PURE UUID: 749683d3-6627-42ad-ba94-fdd549bb3928
ORCID for Nicholas Harmon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0731-768X

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Date deposited: 11 Jun 2021 16:30
Last modified: 12 Jun 2021 01:41

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Contributors

Author: Utpal Saikia
Author: Nicholas Harmon ORCID iD
Author: J. M. Kendall

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