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High-resolution bathymetry using Alvin scanning sonar at the Southern East Pacific Rise and its implication to the formation of collapsed lava lakes

Abstract

A high-resolution bathymetric map of a collapsed lava lake on the ridge crest of the superfast-spreading Southern East Pacific Rise was constructed. The data were acquired during the MOAI’98 Cruise using a pencil-beam scanning sonar that was installed on the submersible Alvin. The map covers an area of 200 × 350 m at the Oasis hydrothermal site (17°25.4′S, 113°12.3′W) where low-temperature fluids are venting from a collapsed lava lake. The collapsed lava lake is 250 m long, with a mean width of 10 m in parallel to the spreading axis on the western flank of the ridge crest. The estimated volume of lava that has drained out is about 7000 m3 erupted from a single event. This small amount of melt and frequent contacts between “young” and “younger” flows indicate that volcanism at the superfast-spreading ridge system is characterized by frequent eruptions of very small volumes of magma.

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Correspondence to Akiko Tanaka.

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Tanaka, A., Rosat, S., Kisimoto, K. et al. High-resolution bathymetry using Alvin scanning sonar at the Southern East Pacific Rise and its implication to the formation of collapsed lava lakes. Earth Planet Sp 59, 245–249 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03353101

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Key words

  • Collapsed lava lake
  • scanning sonar
  • East Pacific Rise
  • hydrothermal activity
  • submersible Alvin
  • mid-ocean ridge