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A geological reconnaissance of the dellwood seamount area, northeast pacific ocean, and its relationship to plate tectonics Bertrand, Wayne Gerrard

Abstract

The Dellwood Seamount Area, an area of approximately 10,000 square km., about 185 km. west of the northern tip of Vancouver Island is located at or near the northernmost end of the Juan de Fuca plate. The main purpose of the study was to test the hypothesis that the Dellwood Knolls mark the site of a short spreading segment connected to the Explorer Spreading Segment at one end by a transform fault trending along the southwestern slope of Paul Revere Ridge; and meeting the Queen Charlotte right lateral transform fault at the other end. An analysis of more than 950 km. of continuous seismic reflection profiles, in conjunction with other geophysical data, shows that (i) the Revere -Dellwood fault zone is a dextral transform fault zone connecting the Explorer and Dellwood spreading segments. (ii) The Queen Charlotte transform fault dies out at the southeastern end of the Scott Channel near the northeastern end of the Dellwood Spreading Segment. (iii) In the channel between the Dellwood Knolls (one of two possible locations of the Dellwood Spreading Segment), the sediments and volcanic basement are cut by normal faults, a feature which is characteristic of spreading centres with median valleys. The heat flow in this channel and in the Revere - Dellwood fault zone is high. (iv) The lower continental slope sediments west of Queen Charlotte Sound is faulted and crumpled and may be the northerly extension of the Scott Islands fault, zone and a site of slow contemporaneous or recently ceased subduction. The deformation of the thick turbidite sequence in the Winona Basin may also be due to subduction. Basalt from the area is chemically intermediate between tholeiitic and alkalic types. That from the Northwest Dellwood Knolls, however, is least differentiated and less than 1 myr. old in contrast to basalt from the sediment-draped Southeast Dellwood Knolls, the latter basalt having Mn-coating up to 50 mm. thick and is thus relatively old. This suggests that spreading may be occurring at the Northwest Dellwood Knolls and not in the channel between the knolls. The texture of basalts from the Dellwood Seamount Range vary depending on size of pillow and depth below pillow surface, but the mineralogy is essentially similar. An unusual rock probably best described as a plagio-clase-olivine basalt porphyry was also recovered from the Dellwood Seamount Range. Non-volcanic rocks recovered include glacial erratics, an authigenic sandstone comprising glacial fragments in an iron-rich cement, a laminated limonitic sediment and manganese nodules. The Dellwood Spreading Segment may have originated by left lateral transcurrent offset from the Explorer Spreading Segment, the offset caused by a change in the direction of motion of the Juan de Fuca plate.

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