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Patterns of stress at midocean ridges and their offsets due to seafloor subsidence.

Neves, M. C. and Bott, M. H. P. and Searle, R. C. (2004) 'Patterns of stress at midocean ridges and their offsets due to seafloor subsidence.', Tectonophysics., 386 (3-4). pp. 223-242.


The effect of the seafloor subsidence on the horizontal stress field is investigated by combining the finite element method with a formulation that allows us to compute the two-dimensional (2D) horizontal stresses arising from isostatically compensated vertical loads. The topographic load created by the elevation of midocean ridges relative to old ocean floor is shown to be a significant source of ridge-parallel tensile stresses. These may predominate over the ridge-perpendicular stresses and explain observations at midocean ridge offsets such as (1) oblique normal faulting at ridge-transform intersections trending up to 60° relative to the ridge axis, and (2) nontransform offsets consisting of structures oriented at 45° relative to the ridge trend. At midocean ridge overlaps, rotation of the ridge-parallel tensile stresses favours rift propagation at more than 45° relative to the ridge trend. It is suggested that propagating rift tips that bend abruptly lead to partially unlocked offsets, and as a result large overlaps may eventually start to rotate and evolve into a microplate.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:
Keywords:Stress; Ridge-offset; Seafloor subsidence; Oceanic lithosphere.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:August 2004
Date first made open access:No date available

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