Evolution of the Galapagos Rise and the Bauer Microplate: implications for the Nazca plate
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Analysis of the satellite altimetry based predicted bathymetry, magnetic anomalies, and earthquake seismic data relating to the geophysical structure on the Nazca plate indicates that the Galapagos Rise system served as the transitional spreading system between Pacific-Farallon spreading and the current East Pacific Rise (EPR) system. First order age/depth relationships for this area indicate that the Galapagos Rise, the most prominent extinct spreading system within the Nazca plate, accommodated most of the Pacific-Nazca plate separation from ~23 million years ago (Ma) to ~8 Ma. After this time, spreading was dominantly along the EPR, with probable ultra slow spreading along the Galapagos Rise continuing until very recent times (0-5 Ma). Magnetic lineations and depth trends across the Bauer Basin suggest that it was captured between the failing Galapagos Rise and the currently active EPR. Anomalously shallow ridge crests along the Galapagos Rise indicate that magmatic activity may have occurred until very recent time (0-5 Ma). Tightly curved (concave southward) fracture zones offsetting Galapagos Rise ridge segments indicate a pole of rotation at the present day position of ~22.5 S and ~99.5 W. The curvature of the fracture zones and the fan-shaped spreading pattern of seafloor structures produced at the Galapagos Rise indicate that the Galapagos Rise initiated parallel to the MendaÃ±a fracture zone. Consistent with the rotation of the Nazca plate after the fragmentation of the Farallon plate, the Galapagos Rise rotated counterclockwise during its active phase. The Galapagos Rise initiated in the vicinity of Gallego fracture zones and propagated southward. Failure of the Galapagos Rise occurred as spreading jumped westward in stages to the East Pacific Rise.
Wright, Jennifer Catherine McGuire (2004). Evolution of the Galapagos Rise and the Bauer Microplate: implications for the Nazca plate. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from