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Quantifying permanent uplift due to lithosphere-hotspot interaction

December 8, 2022

Vertical motions that accompany the passage of the lithosphere over a mantle hotspot can shed light on the nature of the hotspot and its effect on the lithosphere. However, quantifying the temporal vertical and spatial extent, is challenging due to the paucity of evidence in the geological record. Here, we utilize dense seismic and well data covering the intersection of the Great Meteor Hotspot (GMH) track with the U.S. Atlantic continental margin to constrain the surface expression of the hotspot passage under the lithosphere. The continuous sedimentary record of the eastern North American margin during its passage over the hotspot allows determination of the timing, magnitude, width and rate of denudation. We find that a ∼300 km wide region was denuded by up to 850 m between ∼97 and 86 Ma, ∼10 m.y. after the passage of the GMH. Stratigraphic relationships suggest a decaying rock uplift rate with time and no subsequent sagging. The broad, long-lasting, and delayed uplift was modeled as a surface manifestation of either sub-lithospheric mantle depletion, permanently eroded base of the continental lithosphere, or intrusions of depleted magma. We consider sub-lithospheric depletion to be the most likely cause, based on seismic imaging results.

Publication Year 2022
Title Quantifying permanent uplift due to lithosphere-hotspot interaction
DOI 10.1029/2022TC007448
Authors Guy Lang, Uri S. ten Brink
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Tectonics
Index ID 70243187
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center