Diffuse Volcanism at the Young End of the Walvis Ridge - Tristan - Gough Seamount Province: Geochemical Sampling and Constraints on Plume Dynamics
Abstract:The Walvis Ridge-Tristan/Gough seamount province in the South Atlantic represents 130 Myr of continuous intra-plate volcanism that can be connected to the once conjunct Parana-Etendeka flood basalt province. With this it represents one of the few primary hotspots consistent with the thermal plume model. However, around 60 Ma, the morphological expression of the Walvis Ridge changed drastically from a robust 200 km wide aseismic ridge into a 400 km wide region of diffuse and diminished volcanism. As a result, this part of the plume trail has been described by two subtracks, one ending at Tristan da Cunha and another at Gough Island more than 400 km to the SSE. Where the Walvis Ridge forks into these two tracks there is a center prong. There is also the 39.5°S lineament of seamounts between, but oblique to, the two subtracks, which is parallel to the local fracture zone directions. All these features are at odds with the classical definition of a narrow hotspot track although Rohde et al. (2013) showed that the Tristan and Gough subtracks retain a distinct geochemical signature over 70 Myr and are consistent with a zoned, deep-seated plume.
The first Sr-Nd-Hf-Pb isotopic and trace element analyses from the detailed dredge sampling cruise MV1203 show that samples from two prominent seamounts at the western end of the 39.5°S lineament have a Gough-type signature, which makes an upper mantle source for this lineament unlikely but rather indicates that the Gough-type source stretches some 200 km NNW from Gough. Tristan track seamount samples are comparable with published data, however, one new sample has a Gough-type composition suggesting leakage of this component into the Tristan-type plume zone. Seamounts on the middle prong of the Walvis Ridge fork have compositions intermediate to Gough and Tristan domains, suggesting mixing between sources or melts of the two domains.
Thus, the Gough-component in the last 60 Myr of plume activity is volumetrically much more significant than previously apparent in only a small number of seamounts with this signature. A spread over much of the width of the seamount province is indicated including some leakage into the Tristan track.