3/16/2017 - A New View of Mid-Ocean Ridge Eruptions


4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Geology 3656

Presented By:
Maya Tolstoy - Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University


A New View of Mid-Ocean Ridge Eruptions

Seafloor spreading is generally viewed as a relatively steady state process, with near-continuous production of fresh seafloor through mid-ocean eruptions. However, recent evidence from present day eruptions, as well as seafloor bathymetric and hydrothermal output, suggest that seafloor eruptions might in fact wax and wane, exhibiting sensitivity to orbital and sea-level forcings over a wide range of time scales. Technological revolutions in our ability to monitor seafloor earthquakes have helped fuel a new understanding of this fundamental planetary process and illuminated some important differences between seafloor spreading and caldera-centered eruptions. Furthermore, a long-term pulsing of mid-ocean ridge eruptions has implications for global geochemical and physical cycles, with volcanism responding to sea level changes while also acting as a possible climatic feedback. These findings highlight that the solid earth system should not be viewed in isolation from the ocean and atmospheric systems, and that they most likely operate in a delicate balance.

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