Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
Research article
 | Highlight paper
19 May 2014
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 19 May 2014

Magnetic signature of large exhumed mantle domains of the Southwest Indian Ridge – results from a deep-tow geophysical survey over 0 to 11 Ma old seafloor

A. Bronner, D. Sauter, M. Munschy, J. Carlut, R. Searle, M. Cannat, and G. Manatschal

Abstract. We investigate the magnetic signature of ultramafic seafloor in the eastern part of the Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR). There, detachment faulting, continuous over 11 Myr, exhumed large areas of mantle-derived rocks. These exhumed mantle domains occur in the form of a smooth rounded topography with broad ridges locally covered by a thin highly discontinuous volcanic carapace. We present high-resolution data combining deep-tow magnetics, side-scan sonar images and dredged samples collected within two exhumed mantle domains between 62° E and 65° E. We show that, despite an ultra-slow spreading rate, volcanic areas within robust magmatic segments are characterized by well-defined seafloor spreading anomalies. By contrast, the exhumed mantle domains, including a few thin volcanic patches, reveal a weak and highly variable magnetic pattern. The analysis of the magnetic properties of the dredged samples and careful comparison between the nature of the seafloor, the deep-tow magnetic anomalies and the seafloor equivalent magnetization suggest that the serpentinized peridotites do not carry a sufficiently stable remanent magnetization to produce seafloor spreading magnetic anomalies in exhumed mantle domains.