Volume 11 Issue 4
Sep.  2020
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Michael Fletcher, Derek A. Wyman, Sabin Zahirovic. Mantle plumes, triple junctions and transforms: A reinterpretation of PacificCretaceous – Tertiary LIPs and the Laramide connection[J]. Geoscience Frontiers, 2020, (4): 1133-1144. doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2019.09.003
Citation: Michael Fletcher, Derek A. Wyman, Sabin Zahirovic. Mantle plumes, triple junctions and transforms: A reinterpretation of Pacific Cretaceous – Tertiary LIPs and the Laramide connection[J]. Geoscience Frontiers, 2020, (4): 1133-1144. doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2019.09.003

Mantle plumes, triple junctions and transforms: A reinterpretation of Pacific Cretaceous – Tertiary LIPs and the Laramide connection

doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2019.09.003

The comments of two reviewers helped us to clarify and improve the final paper. John Cannon, Maria Seton and Simon Williams are thanked for assistance with GPlates during the study. Sabin Zahirovic was supported by the Australian Research Council (Grant IH130200012), and Alfred P Sloan (Grants G-2017-9997 and G-2018-11296) through the Deep Carbon Observatory.

  • Received Date: 2019-04-07
  • Rev Recd Date: 2019-08-26
  • Publish Date: 2020-09-07
  • The Shatsky and Hess Rises, the Mid-Pacific Mountains and the Line Islands large igneous provinces (LIPs) present different challenges to conventional plume models. Resolving the genesis of these LIPs is important not only for a more complete understanding of mantle plumes and plume-generated magmatism, but also for establishing the role of subducted LIP conjugates in the evolution of the Laramide orogeny and other circum-Pacific orogenic events, which are related to the development of large porphyry systems. Given past difficulties in developing consistent geodynamic models for these LIPs, it is useful to consider whether viable alternative geodynamic scenarios may be provided by recent concepts such as melt channel networks and channel-associated lineaments, along with the “two mode” model of melt generation, where a deeply-sourced channel network is superimposed on the plume, evolving and adapting over millions of years. A plume may also interact with transform faults in close proximity to a mid ocean ridge, with the resultant bathymetric character strongly affected by the relative age difference of lithosphere across the fault. Our results suggest that the new two-mode melt models resolve key persistent issues associated with the Shatsky Rise and other LIPs and provide evidence for the existence of a conduit system within plumes that feed deeply-sourced material to the plume head, with flow maintained over considerable distances. The conduit system eventually breaks down during plume – ridge separation and may do so prior to the plume head being freed from the triple junction or spreading ridge. There is evidence for not only plume head capture by a triple junction but also for substantial deformation of the plume stem as the distance between the stem and anchored plume head increases. The evidence suggests that young transforms can serve as pathways for plume material migration, at least in certain plume head – transform configurations. A fortuitous similarity between the path of the Shatsky and Sio plumes, with respect to young spreading ridges and transforms, helps to clarify previously problematic bathymetric features that were not readily ascribed to fixed plumes alone. The Line Island Chain, which has been the subject of a vast number of models, is related mainly to several plumes that passed beneath the same region of oceanic crust, a relatively rare event that has resulted in LIP formation rather than a regular seamount track. Our findings have important implications for the timing and mechanism for the Laramide Orogeny in North America, demonstrating that the Hess Rise conjugate may be much smaller than traditionally thought. The Mid Pacific Mountains conjugate may not exist at all, given large parts of these LIPs were formed at an ‘off-ridge’ site. This needs to be taken into account while considering the effects of conjugate collision on mineralization and orogenic events.
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