16 Feb 2022
16 Feb 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Plume-ridge interactions: Ridge suction versus plate drag

Fengping Pang1, Jie Liao1,2,3, Maxim Ballmer4, and Lun Li1,2,3 Fengping Pang et al.
  • 1School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • 2Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Geodynamics and Geohazards, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • 3Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), Zhuhai 519000, China
  • 4Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom

Abstract. Mid-ocean ridges and mantle plumes are two attractive windows to allow us to get a glimpse of mantle structure and dynamics. Dynamical interaction between ridge and plume processes have been widely proposed and studied, particularly in terms of ridge suction. However, the effects of plate drag on plumes and plume-ridge interaction remains poorly understood. Quantification of suction versus plate drag between ridges and plumes remains absent. Here we use 2D thermomechanical numerical models to study the plume-ridge interaction, exploring the effects of (i) the spreading rate of ridge, (ii) the plume radius, and (iii) the plume-ridge distance systematically. Our numerical experiments suggest two different geodynamic regimes: (1) plume motion prone to ridge suction is favored by strong buoyant mantle plume and short plume-ridge distance, and (2) plume migration driven by plate drag is promoted by fast-ridge spreading rate. Our results highlight fast-spreading ridges exert strong plate dragging force, rather than suction on plume motion, which sheds new light on the natural observations of plume absence along the fast-spreading ridges, such as the East Pacific Rises.

Fengping Pang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on se-2022-20', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Mar 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on se-2022-20', Anonymous Referee #2, 10 Mar 2022

Fengping Pang et al.

Fengping Pang et al.


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Short summary
Plume-ridge interaction is an intriguing geological process in plate tectonics. In this manuscript, we address the respective role of ridge suction vs plate drag in 2D thermomechanical models and compares the results with a compilation of observations on Earth. From a geophysical and geochemical analysis of Earth plumes and in combination with the model results, we propose that the absence of plumes interacting with ridges in the Pacific is largely caused by the presence of plate drag.