Plate boundary reorganization at a large-offset, rapidly propagating rift

Hey, R.N., Johnson, P.D., Martinez, F., Korenaga, J., Somers, M.L., Huggett, Q.J., Le Bas, T.P., Rusby, R.I. and Naar, D.F. (1995) Plate boundary reorganization at a large-offset, rapidly propagating rift Nature, 378, (6553), pp. 167-170. (doi:10.1038/378167a0).


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THE existence of rapidly spinning microplates along the southern East Pacific Rise has been documented by geophysical swath-mapping surveys1–6, and their evolution has been successfully described by an edge-driven kinematic model7. But the mechanism by which such microplates originate remains unknown. Proposed mechanisms1–10 have generally involved rift propagation11, possibly driven by hotspots or changes in direction of sea-floor spreading. Here we present geophysical data collected over the Earth's fastest spreading centre, the Pacific–Nazca ridge between the Easter and Juan Fernandez microplates (Fig. 1), which reveal a large-offset propagating rift presently reorganizing the plate boundary geometry. A recent episode of rapid 'duelling' propagation of the historically failing spreading centre in this system has created a 120 120 km overlap zone between dual active spreading centres, which may be the initial stage of formation of a new microplate.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1038/378167a0
ISSNs: 0028-0836 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
ePrint ID: 50829
Date :
Date Event
9 November 1995Published
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 18:08
Further Information:Google Scholar

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