Internal structure of oceanic lithosphere: A perspective from tectonic windows

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

127 Scopus citations


Major faulted escarpments on the seafloor provide “tectonic windows” into oceanic crust and upper mantie. Direct observations in these settings reveal that the spaţial arrangement, internai structure, and contacts between major rock units are significantly more complex than commonly anticipated on the basis of seismic studies and ophiolite analogs. From this perspective, a strati- form, ophiolite-like sequence of rock units, including basaltic volcanic rocks, sheeted diabase dike complex, isotropic and layered gabbroic and ultramafic rocks over upper mantie peridotites-all separated by generally horizontal contacts, may be much less common in the oceanic lithosphere than generally thought. Conversely, documented examples of large outcrop areas (tens of kilometers across) that lack the ophiolite-like sequence or that contain struc- tures that do not conform to the ophiolite model call into question the basic assumptions made in the reconstruction and interpretation of ophiolite com- plexes. Historically, the stratiform ophiolite architecture has been the basis for inferences of the interaction between tectonism and magmatism at mid-ocean ridge spreading centers. A growing number of constraints on geological rela- tions along seafloor escarpments hint at much broader range of interactions between tectonic deformation and magmatic construction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFaulting and Magmatism at Mid-Ocean Ridges, 1998
EditorsPaul T. Delaney, W. Roger Buck, Jeffrey A. Karson, Yves Lagabrielle
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
Number of pages42
ISBN (Electronic)9781118664506
ISBN (Print)9780875900896
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameGeophysical Monograph Series
ISSN (Print)0065-8448
ISSN (Electronic)2328-8779

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics


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