Magnetic anisotropy of serpentinized peridotites from the MARK area: Implications for the orientation of mesoscopic structures and major fault zones

Róisín M. Lawrence, Jeffrey S. Gee, Jeffrey Alan Karson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mantle-derived serpentinized peridotites are exposed both along fracture zones and in areas of extreme tectonic extension at slow to intermediate spreading ridges and may constitute a significant volume of the shallow crust in these environments. Here we examine the potential of magnetic remanence data and structural features in serpentinized peridotites from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 920 (Mid-Atlantic Ridge south of Kane, MARK) to provide insights into the tectonic processes responsible for the exposure of these deep-seated rocks at the seafloor. Paleomagnetic data from 214 samples from Site 920 document a remarkably consistent inclination (36.1° +0.8°/-1.4°) that is shallower than either the expected geocentric axial dipole inclination (40.7°) or present-day inclination (41.9°) at the site. We show that the nearly univectorial remanence in these samples is likely to be a partial thermoremanence, possibly augmented by viscous processes at moderate temperatures. These properties were acquired during cooling from the relatively high temperatures (>350°C) at which serpentinization occured. The remanence directions therefore provide some information on the latest stages of uplift of the serpentinite massif. However, interpretation of this tectonic history is complicated by the presence of a pronounced magnetic fabric, which presumably resulted in a deflection of the remanence. We estimate the magnitude and direction of this deflection using a relationship between the anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility and remanence anisotropy. The corrected remanent inclinations (mean 39.5°) more closely approximates the time- averaged inclination at the site, indicating that the massif experienced little or no resolvable tilt after serpentinization and cooling to 350°C. Accounting for the anisotropy- related deflection of the remanence also allows us to more accurately restore various structural features within the core to their geographic orientation. After this reorientation the dominant mesoscopic foliation in these rocks, defined by the preferred orientation of orthopyroxene and subparallel serpentine veins, has an average orientation that closely parallels the regional-scale fault zones on the western median valley wall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-1
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres
Volume107
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 10 2002
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Mid-Atlantic ridge
  • Ocean drilling
  • Remanence anisotropy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

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