Constraints on volumes and patterns of asthenospheric melt from the space-time distribution of seamounts

Clinton P. Conrad*, Kate Selway, Marc M. Hirschmann, Maxim D. Ballmer, Paul Wessel

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Although partial melt in the asthenosphere is important geodynamically, geophysical constraints on its abundance remain ambiguous. We use a database of seamounts detected using satellite altimetry to constrain the temporal history of erupted asthenospheric melt. We find that intraplate volcanism on young seafloor (<60 Ma) equates to a ~20 m thick layer spread across the seafloor. If these seamounts tap partial melt within a ~20 km thick layer beneath the ridge flanks, they indicate extraction of an average melt fraction of ~0.1%. If they source thinner layers or more laterally restricted domains, larger melt fractions are required. Increased seamount volumes for older lithosphere suggest either more active ridge flank volcanism during the Cretaceous or additional recent melt eruption on older seafloor. Pacific basin age constraints suggest that both processes are important. Our results indicate that small volumes of partial melt may be prevalent in the upper asthenosphere across ocean basins.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7203-7210
    Number of pages8
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Volume44
    Issue number14
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2017

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