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Tectonic and Magmatic Controls on Extension and Crustal Accretion in Backarc Basins, Insights from the Lau Basin and Southern Mariana Trough.

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Title:Tectonic and Magmatic Controls on Extension and Crustal Accretion in Backarc Basins, Insights from the Lau Basin and Southern Mariana Trough.
Authors:Sleeper, Jonathan D.
Contributors:Geology & Geophysics (department)
Keywords:Lau Basin
Mariana Trough
backarc basin
seafloor spreading
subduction zone
Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This dissertation examines magmatic and tectonic processes in backarc basins, and how they are modulated by plate- and mantle-driven mechanisms. Backarc basins initiate by tectonic rifting near the arc volcanic front and transition to magmatic seafloor spreading. As at mid-ocean ridges (MORs), spreading can be focused in narrow plate boundary zones, but we also describe a diffuse spreading mode particular to backarc basins. At typical MORs away from hot spots and other melting anomalies, spreading rate is the primary control on the rate of mantle upwelling and decompression melting. At backarc spreading centers, water derived from the subducting slab creates an additional mantle-driven source of melt and buoyant upwelling. Furthermore, because basins open primarily in response to trench rollback, which is inherently a non-rigid process, backarc extensional systems often have to respond to a constantly evolving stress regime, generating complex tectonics and unusual plate boundaries not typically found at MORs. The interplay between these plate- and mantle-driven processes gives rise to the variety of tectonic and volcanic morphologies peculiar to backarc basins.
Chapter 2 is focused on the Fonualei Rift and Spreading Center in the Lau Basin. The southern portion of the axis is spreading at ultraslow (<20 mm/yr) opening rates in close proximity to the arc volcanic front and axial morphology abruptly changes from a volcanic ridge to spaced volcanic cones resembling arc volcanoes. Spreading rate and arc proximity appear to control transitions between two-dimensional and three-dimensional mantle upwelling and volcanism. In the second study (Chapter 3), I develop a new model for the rollback-driven kinematic and tectonic evolution of the Lau Basin, where microplate tectonics creates rapidly changing plate boundary configurations. The third study (Chapter 4) focuses on the southern Mariana Trough and the transitions between arc rifting, seafloor spreading, and a new mode of "diffuse spreading," where new crust is accreted in broad zones rather than along a narrow spreading axis, apparently controlled by a balance between slab water addition and its extraction due to melting and crustal accretion.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/62453
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Geology and Geophysics


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