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Book Chapter

Petrologic Significance of Low Heat Flow on the Flanks of Slow-Spreading Midocean Ridges

Roger N. Anderson
Roger N. Anderson
University of California, Marine Physical Laboratory of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California 92037
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January 01, 1976


A compilation of heaf flow versus age of oceanic crust about all the midocean ridges demonstrates that low heat-flow anomalies associated with the crest and flanks appear to occur only on slow-spreading ridges. Such crestal anomalies are probably caused by large-scale hydrothermal circulation in fractures throughout the riewly formed oceanic crust, which results in rapid cooling of the crestal zone and hydration of the crust. Away from the crest, sediments seal the fractures and circulation stops. The crust then begins to heat until it reaches equilibrium with the conductively cooling mantle, after which it cools with the rest of the lithospheric plate

If, however, the crust heats to above the equilibrium stability temperature for its hydrous assemblage, dehydration occufe, absorbing enough, heat to produce the observed low heat flow on the flanks of these slow spreading ridges.

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GSA Microform Publications

Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Peter A. Rona
Peter A. Rona
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories 15 Rickenbacker Causeway Miami, Florida 33149
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Geological Society of America
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Publication date:
January 01, 1976




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