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Book Chapter

Failed rifts

By
Rodey Batiza
Rodey Batiza
Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
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Published:
January 01, 1989

Abstract

Failed rifts are inactive mid-ocean ridge segments abandoned during processes that change the spreading geometry of lithospheric plates (Table 1). Morphologically, they resemble active ridge crests, and it seems in some cases that their failure or abandonment was closely coupled to the propagation of a neighboring active rift. In such cases, the propagating rift advances into old lithosphere formerly created by the dying rift, while the dying or abandoned rift ceases to function as a spreading center. A transient and complex transform-type plate boundary forms between the advancing rift and the dying one, as discussed by Hey and others (1986).

For propagating/retreating rifts (PRRs) (discussed fully in Hey and others, this volume) and migrating overlapping spreading centers (OSCs), also called nontransform offsets, (Rea, 1978; Lonsdale, 1983; MacDonald and Fox, 1983; Macdonald, this volume; Fox and Gallo, this volume), the distance separating the coupled propagating and failing rifts is usually less than or about 50 km. It is possible that this relatively small distance between the advancing and retreating rifts leads to close coupling of ridge behavior and ease in establishing a transform-type boundary between them. If even smaller rift offsets such as small non-overlapping offsets (SNOOs) (Batiza and Margolis, 1986) and deviations from axial linearity (DevALs) (Langmuir and others, 1986) migrate, it would be expected that close coupling of advancing and dying rifts and the ease of creating a transient plate boundary between them would be correspondingly enhanced due to the close proximity (<3 km) of the two rifts and the hot, thin, weak lithosphere between them

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DNAG, Geology of North America

The Eastern Pacific Ocean and Hawaii

E. L. Winterer
E. L. Winterer
Scripps Institution of Oceanography La Jolla, California 92093
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Donald M. Hussong
Donald M. Hussong
University of Hawaii Department of Geology and Geophysics Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
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Robert W. Decker
Robert W. Decker
4087 Silver Bar Road Mariposa, California 95338
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Geological Society of America
Volume
N
ISBN electronic:
9780813754659
Publication date:
January 01, 1989

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