Abstract

We present the first seismic reflection data across a pseudofault zone, the trace of a propagating rift away from a spreading axis. Strong reflections from the crust-mantle transition are discontinuous across the pseudofault. Deeper reflections, which originate near the base of the crust formed at the propagator tip, dip beneath the older oceanic crust and become subhorizontal. They are interpreted to represent the lower limit of an underplated subcrustal plutonic complex. An anomalously smooth basement surface indicative of massive lava flows and a 1200-m-high seamount are above the underplated zone. The sill complex extends tens of kilometres ahead of, and off-axis from, the former location of the propagating rift, indicating that the magmatic supply to the propagator tip was unusually vigorous. Other seamounts in the northeast Pacific lie close to pseudofaults and may have formed as a result of rift propagation.

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