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Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth








Mantle plumes rising in the vicinity of mid-ocean ridges often generate anomalies in melt production and seafloor depth. This study investigates the dynamical interactions between a mantle plume and a ridge-ridge-ridge triple junction, using a parameter space approach and a suite of steady state, three-dimensional finite element numerical models. The top domain boundary is composed of three diverging plates, with each assigned half-spreading rates with respect to a fixed triple junction point. The bottom boundary is kept at a constant temperature of 1350°C except where a two-dimensional, Gaussian-shaped thermal anomaly simulating a plume is imposed. Models vary plume diameter, plume location, the viscosity contrast between plume and ambient mantle material, and the use of dehydration rheology in calculating viscosity. Importantly, the model results quantify how plume-related anomalies in mantle temperature pattern, seafloor depth, and crustal thickness depend on the specific set of parameters. To provide an example, one way of assessing the effect of conduit position is to calculate normalized area, defined to be the spatial dispersion of a given plume at specific depth (here selected to be 50km) divided by the area occupied by the same plume when it is located under the triple junction. For one particular case modeled where the plume is centered in an intraplate position 100km from the triple junction, normalized area is just 55%. Overall, these models provide a framework for better understanding plateau formation at triple junctions in the natural setting and a tool for constraining subsurface geodynamical processes and plume properties.

Original Publication Citation

Dordevic, M., & Georgen, J. (2016). Dynamics of plume-triple junction interaction: Results from a series of three-dimensional numerical models and implications for the formation of oceanic plateaus. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 121(3), 1316-1342. doi:10.1002/2014jb011869


0000-0002-8863-8783 (Georgen)


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