The diverse crustal structure and magmatic evolution of the Manihiki Plateau, central Pacific
K. Hochmuth1, K. Gohl1, G. Uenzelmann-Neben1, and R. Werner21Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany 2GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung, Wischhofstr. 1–3, 24148 Kiel, Germany
Abstract. The Manihiki Plateau is a Large Igneous Province (LIP) in the central Pacific. It was emplaced as part of the "Super-LIP" Ontong Java Nui and experienced fragmentation into three sub-plateaus, possibly during the break-up of Ontong Java Nui. The Manihiki Plateau is presumably the centerpiece of this "Super-LIP" and its investigation can therefore decipher the break-up mechanisms as well as the evolution of the plateau after its initial emplacement. By analyzing two seismic refraction/wide-angle reflection profiles crossing the two largest sub-plateaus of the Manihiki Plateau, the High Plateau and the Western Plateaus, we give new insights into their crustal structure and magmatic evolution. The High Plateau shows a crustal structure of 20 km thickness and a seismic P wave velocity distribution, which is comparable to other LIPs. The High Plateau experienced a strong secondary volcanism, which can be seen in relicts of seamount chain volcanism. The Western Plateaus on the other hand show no extensive secondary volcanism and are mainly structured by fault systems and sedimentary basins. A constant decrease in Moho depth (9–17 km) is a further indicator of crustal stretching on the Western Plateaus. Those findings lead to the conclusion, that the two sub-plateaus of the Manihiki Plateau experienced a different magmatic and tectonic history. Whereas the High Plateau experienced a secondary volcanism, the Western Plateaus underwent crustal stretching during and after the break-up of Ontong Java Nui. This indicates, that the sub-plateaus of the Manihiki Plateau play an individual part in the break-up history of Ontong Java Nui.
Hochmuth, K., Gohl, K., Uenzelmann-Neben, G., and Werner, R.: The diverse crustal structure and magmatic evolution of the Manihiki Plateau, central Pacific, Solid Earth Discuss., 6, 1863-1905, doi:10.5194/sed-6-1863-2014, 2014.