Insights into Oceanic Crust Accretion from a Comparison of Rock Magnetic and Silicate Fabrics from Lower Crustal Gabbros from Hess Deep Rift

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Andrew J Horst, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, United States, Antony Morris, Plymouth University, Plymouth, United Kingdom, Sarah A Friedman, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Department of Geology, Carbondale, IL, United States and Michael J Cheadle, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States
The mechanisms of lower crustal accretion remain a long-standing question for those who study fast-spreading mid-ocean ridges. One of the goals of Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 345 is to test accretionary models by investigating the structure of the lower oceanic crust exposed within the Hess Deep Rift. Located near the tip of the westward-propagating Cocos-Nazca spreading center, Hess Deep Rift exposes crust formed at the East Pacific Rise. During IODP Expedition 345, primitive gabbroic rocks were recovered from a dismembered lower crustal section at ~4850 meters below sealevel. Constraints on physical processes during magmatic accretion are provided by the relative orientation and strength of rock fabrics.

We present anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) fabric data from gabbros recovered from the two deepest holes (U1415J and U1415P). AMS measurements provide petrofabric data that may be used to constrain magma emplacement and subsequent magmatic flow. Bulk susceptibility ranges from 1.15 x 10-4 to 5.73 x 10-2 SI, with a majority of the samples having susceptibility greater than 10-3 SI, suggesting magnetite is the dominant contributor to the AMS signal. Low-temperature demagnetization data show Verwey transitions near 125K indicating the presence of nearly stoichiometric magnetite in most samples. AMS reveals dominantly oblate fabrics with a moderate degree of anisotropy (P’) ranging from 1.01 to 1.38 (average P’ = 1.13). Fabric strength varies within each of the petrologically-defined units recovered from different crustal blocks. Additional remanence anisotropy fabric analyses of a few specimens reveal nearly identical directions of principal axes compared to AMS, but with larger degrees of anisotropy. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) data from one sample shows a moderate plagioclase crystallographic preferred orientation best defined by a b-axis maxima that is coincident with the AMS minimum principal axis. This comparison between silicate and magnetic fabric data suggests that AMS is a good proxy for bulk silicate fabrics in these samples from Hess Deep. By integrating AMS and EBSD, both sensitive indicators of magnetic and silicate fabrics in gabbroic rocks, we seek a better understanding of the formation of gabbro in oceanic crust.