North Fiji basin
axial volcanic highs
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The South Pandora and the Tripartite Ridges are active spreading centers located in the northern part of the North Fiji Basin. These spreading centers were surveyed over a distance of 750 km during the NOFI cruise of R/V L'Atalante (August–September 1994) which was conducted in the frame of the french-japanese Newstarmer cooperation project. SIMRAD EM12-dual full coverage swath bathymetric and imagery data as well as airgun 6-channel seismic, magnetics and gravity profiles were recorded along and offaxis from 170°40′ E to 178° E. Dredging and piston coring were also performed along and off-axis. The axial domain of the South Pandora Ridge is divided into 5 first-order segments characterized by contrasted morphologies. The average width of the active domain is 20 km and corresponds either to bathymetric highs or to deep elongated grabens. The bathymetric highs are volcanic constructions, locally faulted and rifted, which can obstruct totally the axial valley. The grabens show the typical morphology of slow spreading axes, with two steep walls flanking a deep axial valley. Elongated lateral ridges may be present on both sides of the grabens. Numerous volcanoes, up to several kilometers in diameter, occur on both flanks of the South Pandora Ridge. The Tripartite Ridge consists of three main segments showing a sigmoid shape. Major changes in the direction of the active zones are observed at the segment discontinuities. These discontinuities show various geometrical patterns which suggest complex transform relay zones. Preliminary analysis of seismic reflection profiles suggest that the Tripartite Ridge is a very young feature which propagates into an older oceanic domain characterized by a significant sedimentary cover. By contrast, a very thin to absent sedimentary cover is observed about 100 km on both flanks of the South Pandora Ridge active axis. The magnetic anomaly profiles give evidence of long and continuous lineations, parallel to the South Pandora Ridge spreading axis. According to our preliminary interpretation, the spreading rate would have been very low (8 km/m.y. half rate) during the last 7 Ma. The South Pandora and Tripartite Ridges exhibit characteristics typical of active oceanic ridges: (1) a segmented pattern, with segments ranging from 80 to 100 km in length; (2) an axial tectonic and volcanic zone, 10 to 20 km wide; (3) well-organized magnetic lineations, parallel to the active axis; (4) clear signature on the free-air gravity anomaly map. However, no typical transform fault is observed; instead, complex relay zones are separating first-order segments.
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