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Seismotectonics of Mid-Ocean Ridge Propagation in Hess Deep

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Science  29 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5599, pp. 1765-1768
DOI: 10.1126/science.1077950

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Abstract

Hydroacoustic data from the eastern equatorial Pacific reveal low-magnitude seismicity concentrated at the propagating tip of the Galapagos Rise in Hess Deep. The patterns of seismicity and faulting are similar to those observed in the process zone of laboratory-scale propagating tensile cracks. Because the fracture energy required for propagation scales with crack length and process zone size, it follows that ridges can propagate stably in the brittle crust without exceptional resisting forces as proposed by previous models based on linear elastic fracture mechanics.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jsfloyd{at}ldeo.columbia.edu

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