The geology of the Oceanographer Transform: The ridge-transform intersection

J. A. Karson, P. J. Fox, H. Sloan, K. T. Crane, W. S.F. Kidd, E. Bonatti, J. B. Stroup, D. J. Fornari, D. Elthon, P. Hamlyn, J. F. Casey, D. G. Gallo, D. Needham, R. Sartori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Seven dives in the submersible ALVIN and four deep-towed (ANGUS) camera lowerings have been made at the eastern ridge-transform intersection of the Oceanographer Transform with the axis of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. These data constrain our understanding of the processes that create and shape the distinctive morphology that is characteristic of slowly-slipping ridge-transform-ridge plate boundaries. Although the geological relationships observed in the rift valley floor in the study area are similar to those reported for the FAMOUS area, we observe a distinct change in the character of the rift valley floor with increasing proximity to the transform. Over a distance of approximately ten kilometers the volcanic constructional terrain becomes increasingly more disrupted by faulting and degraded by mass wasting. Moreover, proximal to the transform boundary, faults with orientations oblique to the trend of the rift valley are recognized. The morphology of the eastern rift valley wall is characterized by inward-facing scarps that are ridge-axis parallel, but the western rift valley wall, adjacent to the active transform zone, is characterized by a complex fault pattern defined by faults exhibiting a wide range of orientations. However, even for transform parallel faults no evidence for strike-slip displacement is observed throughout the study area and evidence for normal (dip-slip) displacement is ubiquitous. Basalts, semi-consolidated sediments (chalks, debris slide deposits) and serpentinized ultramafic rocks are recovered from localities within or proximal to the rift valley. The axis of accretion-principal transform displacement zone intersection is not clearly established, but appears to be located along the E-W trending, southern flank of the deep nodal basin that defines the intersection of the transform valley with the rift floor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-141
Number of pages33
JournalMarine Geophysical Researches
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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