Abyssal Hill Segmentation - Quantitative-Analysis of the East Pacific Rise Flanks 7-Degrees-S-9-Degrees-S

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Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth
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Aug 10
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The recent R/V Maurice Ewing EW9105 Hydrosweep survey of the Fast Pacific Rise (EPR) and adjacent flanks between 7-degrees-S and 9-degrees-S provides an excellent opportunity to explore the causal relationship between the ridge and the abyssal hills which form on its flanks. These data cover 100% of the flanking abyssal hills to 115 km on either side of the axis. We apply the methodology of Goff and Jordan (1988) for estimating statistical characteristics of abyssal hill morphology (rms height, characteristic lengths and widths, plan view aspect ratio, azimuthal orientation, and fractal dimension). Principal observations include the following: (1) the rms height of abyssal hill morphology is negatively correlated with the width of the 5- to 20-km-wide crestal high, consistent with the observations of Goff (1991) for northern EPR abyssal hill morphology; (2) the characteristic abyssal hill width displays no systematic variation with position relative to ridge segmentation within the EW9105 survey area, in contrast with observations of Goff (1991) for northern EPR abyssal hill morphology in which characteristic widths tend to be smallest at segment ends and largest toward the middle of segments; (3) abyssal hill rms heights and characteristic widths are very large just north of a counterclockwise rotating ''nannoplate'', suggesting that the overlap region is being pushed northward in response to microplate-style tectonics; and (4) within the 7-degrees-12'S-8-degrees-38'S segment, abyssal hill lineaments are generally parallel to the ridge axis, while south of this area, abyssal hill lineaments rotate with a larger ''radius of curvature'' than does the EPR axis approaching the EPR-Wilkes ridge-transform intersection.


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