Department of Biology

Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Mark Lever

Marine transform faults and fracture zones: A joint perspective integrating seismicity, fluid flow and life

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review

DOI

  • Christian Hensen, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
  • ,
  • Joao C. Duarte, University of Lisbon
  • ,
  • Paola Vannucchi, Royal Holloway University of London, University of Florence
  • ,
  • Adriano Mazzini, University of Oslo
  • ,
  • Mark A. Lever
  • Pedro Terrinha, University of Lisbon, IPMA- Portuguese Institute for Atmosphere and Ocean
  • ,
  • Louis Géli, L'Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer
  • ,
  • Pierre Henry, Aix-Marseille Université
  • ,
  • Heinrich Villinger, University of Bremen
  • ,
  • Jason Morgan, Royal Holloway University of London
  • ,
  • Mark Schmidt, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
  • ,
  • Marc André Gutscher, CNRS
  • ,
  • Rafael Bartolome, CSIC
  • ,
  • Yama Tomonaga, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
  • ,
  • Alina Polonia, National Research Council
  • ,
  • Eulàlia Gràcia, CSIC
  • ,
  • Umberta Tinivella, National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics
  • ,
  • Matteo Lupi, University of Geneva
  • ,
  • M. Namık Çağatay, Istanbul Technical University
  • ,
  • Marcus Elvert, University of Bremen
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  • Dimitris Sakellariou, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
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  • Luis Matias, University of Lisbon
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  • Rolf Kipfer, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
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  • Aristomenis P. Karageorgis, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
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  • Livio Ruffine, L'Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer
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  • Volker Liebetrau, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
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  • Catherine Pierre, Sorbonne Université
  • ,
  • Christopher Schmidt, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
  • ,
  • Luis Batista, University of Lisbon, IPMA- Portuguese Institute for Atmosphere and Ocean
  • ,
  • Luca Gasperini, National Research Council
  • ,
  • Ewa Burwicz, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
  • ,
  • Marta Neres, University of Lisbon, IPMA- Portuguese Institute for Atmosphere and Ocean
  • ,
  • Marianne Nuzzo, Integrated Geochemical Interpretation

Marine transform faults and associated fracture zones (MTFFZs) cover vast stretches of the ocean floor, where they play a key role in plate tectonics, accommodating the lateral movement of tectonic plates and allowing connections between ridges and trenches. Together with the continental counterparts of MTFFZs, these structures also pose a risk to human societies as they can generate high magnitude earthquakes and trigger tsunamis. Historical examples are the Sumatra-Wharton Basin Earthquake in 2012 (M8.6) and the Atlantic Gloria Fault Earthquake in 1941 (M8.4). Earthquakes at MTFFZs furthermore open and sustain pathways for fluid flow triggering reactions with the host rocks that may permanently change the rheological properties of the oceanic lithosphere. In fact, they may act as conduits mediating vertical fluid flow and leading to elemental exchanges between Earth’s mantle and overlying sediments. Chemicals transported upward in MTFFZs include energy substrates, such as H 2 and volatile hydrocarbons, which then sustain chemosynthetic, microbial ecosystems at and below the seafloor. Moreover, up- or downwelling of fluids within the complex system of fractures and seismogenic faults along MTFFZs could modify earthquake cycles and/or serve as “detectors” for changes in the stress state during interseismic phases. Despite their likely global importance, the large areas where transform faults and fracture zones occur are still underexplored, as are the coupling mechanisms between seismic activity, fluid flow, and life. This manuscript provides an interdisciplinary review and synthesis of scientific progress at or related to MTFFZs and specifies approaches and strategies to deepen the understanding of processes that trigger, maintain, and control fluid flow at MTFFZs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
Volume7
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
ISSN2095-0195
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank all members of the FLOWS consortium (https://www.flows-cost.eu/de/members) for fruitful discussions and ongoing knowledge exchange. Additional thanks for fruitful collaboration go to colleagues of the InterRidge working group on Oceanic Transform Faults (https://www.interridge.org/WG_Transform_Faults), the Deep Carbon Observatory (https://deepcarbon.net/), and the MARSITE Programme [EU Grant agreement N◦ (308417)]. The manuscript benefited from critical and insightful comments by Shinsuke Kawagucci and Wolfgang Rabbel. JD acknowledges an FCT Researcher contract, an exploratory project grant ref. IF/00702/2015, and the FCT project UID/ GEO/50019/2013-IDL. LG acknowledges the bilateral ANR/TÜBITAK collaborative research project MAREGAMI (ANR-16-CE03-0010-02 and Tübitak Project 116Y371). AM acknowledges the European Research Council under the Seventh Framework Programme (grant agreement 308126, LUSI LAB) and the Research Council of Norway (Centers of Excellence funding scheme 223272).

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank all members of the FLOWS consortium (https://www.flows-cost.eu/de/members ) for fruitful discussions and ongoing knowledge exchange. Additional thanks for fruitful collaboration go to colleagues of the InterRidge working group on Oceanic Transform Faults (https://www.interridge.org/WG_Transform_Faults), the Deep Carbon Observatory (https://deepcarbon.net/ ), and the MARSITE Programme [EU Grant agreement N° (308417)]. The manuscript benefited from critical and insightful comments by Shinsuke Kawagucci and Wolfgang Rabbel. JD acknowledges an FCT Researcher contract, an exploratory project grant ref. IF/00702/2015, and the FCT project UID/ GEO/50019/2013-IDL. LG acknowledges the bilateral ANR/TÜBITAK collaborative research project MAREGAMI (ANR-16-CE03-0010-02 and Tübitak Project 116Y371). AM acknowledges the European Research Council under the Seventh Framework Programme (grant agreement 308126, LUSI LAB) and the Research Council of Norway (Centers of Excellence funding scheme 223272). Funding. This study was the outcome of interdisciplinary research and intense, pan-European, scientific exchange within the EU-funded COST Action FLOWS (ES1301; https://www.flows-cost.eu/ ) since 2013, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology; www.cost.eu ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Hensen, Duarte, Vannucchi, Mazzini, Lever, Terrinha, Géli, Henry, Villinger, Morgan, Schmidt, Gutscher, Bartolome, Tomonaga, Polonia, Gràcia, Tinivella, Lupi, Çağatay, Elvert, Sakellariou, Matias, Kipfer, Karageorgis, Ruffine, Liebetrau, Pierre, Schmidt, Batista, Gasperini, Burwicz, Neres and Nuzzo.

Copyright:
Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Coupling of seismicity and fluid flow, Fluid geochemistry, Fractures zones, Heat flow, Microbial life, Seafloor observation systems, Seismic precursors, Transform faults

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