Electromagnetic, gravimetric and seismic measurements to investigate the Tristan da Cunha hot spot and its role in the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean (MARKE) - Cruise No. MSM24 - December 27, 2012 - January 21, 2013 - Walvis Bay (Namibia) - Cape Town (South Africa)

Freier Zugriff
in MARIA S. MERIAN-Berichte; MSM24; 1-56; MARIA S. MERIAN-Berichte


  • Format / Umfang:
    56 pages
  • ISSN:
  • DOI:
  • Medientyp:
    Aufsatz (Zeitschrift)
  • Format:
    Elektronische Ressource
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  • Klassifikation:
    DDC:    550 Earth sciences and geology


According to classical plume theory, the Tristan da Cunha hotspot is thought to have played a major role in the rifting of the South Atlantic margins and the creation of the aseismic Walvis Ridge by impinging at the base of the continental lithosphere shortly before or during the breakup of the South Atlantic margins. However, Tristan da Cunha is enigmatic as it cannot be clearly identified as a hot spot but may also be classified as a more shallow type of anomaly that may actually have been caused by the opening of the South Atlantic. The equivocal character of Tristan is largely due to a lack of geophysical data in this region. It is of central importance to characterize the region around Tristan da Cunha with geophysical data in a more coherent way to understand the tectonic processes of the opening of the South Atlantic and the formation of the Walvis Ridge, i.e. to understand whether Tristan da Cunha is the cause or the consequence of the rifting. We therefore staged a multi-disciplinary geophysical study of the region by acquiring passive marine electromagnetic and seismic data, bathymetric data as well as gravity data from which we will derive an electrical resistivity, seismic velocity and density model down to a depth of several hundred kilometres. These models will be interpreted in the context of geochemical data and tectonic models developed within the SPP1375 South Atlantic Margin Processes and Links with onshore Evolution (SAMPLE). On the cruise MSM24 we acquired bathymetric data within the Tristan da Cunha region and recovered 26 out of 26 ocean-bottom magnetotelluric stations (OBEM), 22 out of 24 broadband ocean-bottom seismometers (BBOBS) as well as two seismic and one magnetotelluric (MT) land stations from the uninhabited Nightingale Island. These stations were deployed one year ago during cruise MSM20/2. The cruise also offered the opportunity for a colleague from the University Heidelberg to conduct geological sampling on Tristan da Cunha.

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