Tamu Massif is an immense Mesozoic submarine volcano, the main edifice of the Shatsky Rise oceanic plateau. It is located at a spreading ridge triple junction, but considered to be a shield volcano formed by effusive volcanism from an emerging mantle plume. However, it is unclear how Tamu Massif eruptions interacted with the spreading ridges, which are enormous linear volcanoes themselves. Here we create a magnetic anomaly map for Tamu Massif, which can provide clues about crustal formation. For Tamu Massif, we find dominantly linear magnetic field anomalies caused by crustal blocks of opposite magnetic polarity. This pattern suggests that Tamu Massif is not a shield volcano, but was emplaced by voluminous, focused ridge volcanism. If the magma source at the Shatsky Rise was a plume, it was closely connected to and controlled by seafloor spreading. By implication, even the largest oceanic plateau edifices can be formed by seafloor spreading. We suggest that the widely accepted analogy between continental flood basalts and oceanic plateaus requires reconsideration.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $14.08 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Vine, F. J. & Matthews, D. H. Magnetic anomalies over oceanic ridges. Nature 199, 947–949 (1963).
Gee, J. S. & Kent, D. V. in Geomagnetism (ed Kono, M.) 455–507 (Elsevier, 2007).
Coffin, M. F. & Eldholm, O. Large igneous provinces: crustal structure, dimensions, and external consequences. Rev. Geophys. 32, 1–36 (1994).
Richards, M. A., Duncan, R. A. & Courtillot, V. E. Flood basalts and hot-spot tracks: plume heads and tails. Science 246, 103–107 (1989).
Duncan, R. A. & Richards, M. A. Hotspots, mantle plumes, flood basalts, and true polar wander. Rev. Geophys. 29, 31–50 (1991).
Sager, W. W., Handschumacher, D. W., Hilde, T. W. C. & Bracey, D. R. Tectonic evolution of the northern Pacific plate and Pacific-Farallon-Izanagi triple junction in the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous (M21-M10). Tectonophysics 155, 345–364 (1988).
Nakanishi, M., Sager, W. W. & Klaus, A. Magnetic lineations within Shatsky Rise, northwest Pacific Ocean: implications for hot spot-triple junction interaction and oceanic plateau formation. J. Geophys. Res. 104, 7539–7556 (1999).
Huang, Y. et al. Magnetic anomaly map of Ori Massif and its implications for oceanic plateau formation. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 501, 46–55 (2018).
Sager, W. W. & Han, H.-C. Rapid formation of the Shatsky Rise oceanic plateau inferred from its magnetic anomaly. Nature 364, 610–613 (1993).
Eldholm, O. & Coffin, M. F. in Large Igneous Provinces and Plate Tectonics (eds Richards, M. A. et al.) 309–326 (American Geophysical Union, 2000).
Sager, W. W. et al. An immense shield volcano with the Shatsky Rise oceanic plateau, northwest Pacific Ocean. Nat. Geosci. 6, 976–981 (2013).
Nakanishi, M., Sager, W. W. & Korenaga, J. in The Origin, Evolution, and Environmental Impact of Oceanic Large Igneous Provinces (eds Neal, C. R. et al.) 85–101 (GSA, 2015).
Ogg, J. G. in The Geologic Time Scale 2012 (eds Gradstein, F. M. et al.) 85–113 (Elsevier, 2012).
Mahoney, J. J. et al. Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary age and mid-ocean-ridge-type mantle source for Shatsky Rise. Geology 33, 185–188 (2005).
Geldmacher, J., Van den Bogaard, P., Heydolph, K. & Hoernle, K. The age of Earth’s largest volcano: Tamu Massif on Shatsky Rise (northwest Pacific Ocean). Int. J. Earth Sci. 103, 2351–2357 (2014).
Tejada, M. L. G. et al. Geochemistry and age of Shatsky, Hess, and Ojin Rise seamounts: implications for a connection between Shatsky and Hess rises. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 185, 302–327 (2016).
Huang, Y. et al. Magnetic anomaly map for Shatsky Rise and its implications for oceanic plateau formation. AGU Fall Meeting 2018 Abstract GP31B-0714 (AGU, 2018).
Plouff, D. Gravity and magnetic fields of polygonal prisms and application to magnetic terrain corrections. Geophysics 41, 727–741 (1976).
Larson, R. L. & Sager, W. W. Skewness of magnetic anomalies M0 to M29 in the northwestern Pacific. in Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results vol. 129 (eds Larson, R. L. et al.) 471–481 (Ocean Drilling Program, 1992).
Parker, R. L. & Huestis, S. P. The inversion of magnetic anomalies in the presence of topography. J. Geophys. Res. 79, 1587–1593 (1974).
Tivey, M. A. in Encyclopedia of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism (eds Gubbins D. & Herrero-Bervera, E.) 542–546 (Springer, 2007).
Tominaga, M., Sager, W. W. & Channell, J. E. T. Paleomagnetism of the igneous section, Hole 1213B, Shatsky Rise. in Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results vol. 198 (eds Bralower, T. J. et al.) 1–15 (Ocean Drilling Program, 2005).
Sager, W. W. et al. in The Origin, Evolution, and Environmental Impact of Oceanic Large Igneous Provinces (eds Neal, C. R. et al.) 147–171 (GSA, 2015).
Shotorban, K. & Georgen, J. E. The role of plate boundary geometry and ridge processes in the emplacement of Shatsky Rise. AGU Fall Meeting 2018 Abstract TD51D-0180 (AGU, 2018).
Korenaga, J. & Sager, W. W. Seismic tomography of Shatsky Rise by adaptive importance sampling. J. Geophys. Res. 117, B08102 (2012).
Clague, D. A. et al. in The Eastern Pacific and Hawaii (eds Winterer, E. L. et al.) 187–237 (GSA, 1989).
Sager, W. W., Sano, T. & Geldmacher, J. Formation and evolution of Shatsky Rise oceanic plateau: insights from IODP Expedition 324 and recent geophysical cruises. Earth Sci. Rev. 159, 306–336 (2016).
Macdonald, K. C., Haymon, R. & Shor, A. A 220 km2 recently erupted lava field on the East Pacific Rise at 8°S. Geology 17, 212–216 (1989).
Geshi, N. et al. Discrete plumbing systems and heterogeneous magma sources of a 24 km3 off-axis lava field on the western flank of East Pacific Rise, 14°S. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 258, 61–72 (2007).
Zhang, J., Sager, W. W. & Korenaga, J. in The Origin, Evolution, and Environmental Impact of Oceanic Large Igneous Provinces (eds Neal, C. R. et al.) 103–126 (GSA, 2015).
White, R. S. et al. New seismic images of oceanic crustal structure. Geology 18, 462–465 (1990).
Mutter, J. C. Seaward dipping reflectors and the continent ocean boundary at passive continental margins. Tectonophysics 114, 117–131 (1985).
Strange, W. E., Woollard, G. P. & Rose, J. C. An analysis of the gravity field over the Hawaiian Islands in terms of crustal structure. Pac. Sci. 19, 381–389 (1965).
Taylor, B. The single largest oceanic plateau: Ontong Java-Manihiki-Hikurangi. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 241, 372–380 (2006).
Sager, W. W. in Plates, Plumes, and Paradigms (eds Foulger, G. R. et al.) 721–733 (GSA, 2005).
Tamaki, K. & Larson, R. L. The Mesozoic tectonic history of the Magellan Microplate in the western central Pacific. J. Geophys. Res. 93, 2857–2874 (1988).
Gibbons, A. D. et al. Constraining the Jurassic extent of Greater India: tectonic evolution of the west Australian margin. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 13, Q05W13 (2012).
Cande, S. C., LaBreque, J. L. & Haxby, W. F. Plate kinematics of the South Atlantic: chron 34 to present. J. Geophys. Res. 93, 479–13,492 (1988).
Gente, P., Dyment, J., Maia, M. & Goslin, J. Interaction between the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Azores hot spot during the last 85 Myr: emplacement and rifting of the hot spot-derived plateaus. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 4, Q05W13 (2003).
Ryan, M. P. in Magma Transport and Storage (ed. Ryan, M. P.) 175–224 (John Wiley, 1990).
Wolfe, C. J., Bjarnason, I. T., VanDecar, J. C. & Solomon, S. C. Seismic structure of the Iceland mantle plume. Nature 385, 245–247 (1997).
Karson, J. A. The Iceland plate boundary zone: propagating rifts, migrating transforms, and rift-parallel strike slip faults. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 18, 4043–4054 (2017).
Neal, C. R., Coffin, M. F. & Sager, W. W. Understanding the eruptions of submarine large igneous provinces and their effects on the environment. Oceanography 32, 176–192 (2019).
Whittaker, J. M. et al. Long-term interaction between mid-ocean ridges and mantle plumes. Nat. Geosci. 8, 479–483 (2015).
Rowley, D. B. et al. Kinematics and dynamics of the East Pacific Rise linked to a stable, deep-mantle upwelling. Sci. Adv. 2, e1601107 (2016).
Jerram, D. A. & Widdowson, M. The anatomy of continental flood basalt provinces: geological constraints on the processes and products of flood volcanism. Lithos 79, 385–405 (2005).
Self, S., Thordarson, T. & Keszthelyi, L. in Large Igneous Provinces (eds Mahoney, J. J. & Coffin, M. F.) 381–410 (AGU, 1997).
Ernst, R. E. & Buchan, K. L. in Large Igneous Provinces (eds Mahoney, J. J. & Coffin, M. F.) 297–333 (AGU, 1997).
Smith, W. H. F. & Sandwell, D. T. Global seafloor topography from satellite altimetry and ship depth crossings. Science 277, 1956–1962 (1997).
Wessel, P. Tools for analyzing intersecting tracks: the x2sys package. Comput. Geosci. 36, 348–354 (2010).
Finlay, C. C. et al. International Geomagnetic Reference Field: the eleventh generation. Geophys. J. Int. 183, 1216–1230 (2010).
Sabaka, T., Olsen, N. & Purucker, M. E. Extending comprehensive models of the Earth’s geomagnetic field with Oersted and Champ data. Geophys. J. Int. 159, 521–547 (2004).
Dessler, A. J. & Fejer, J. A. Interpretation of Kp index and M-region geomagnetic storms. Planet. Space Sci. 11, 505–511 (1963).
Smith, W. H. F. & Wessel, P. Gridding with continuous curvature splines in tension. Geophysics 55, 293–305 (2010).
Harrison, C. G. A., Jarrard, R. D., Vacquier, V. & Larson, R. L. Palaeomagnetism of Cretaceous Pacific Seamounts. Geophys. J. R. Astron. Soc. 42, 859–882 (1975).
The authors thank the Schmidt Ocean Institute for granting the use of the RV Falkor for cruise FK151005, as well as the captain and crew of the vessel for their hard work supporting our research. J.Z. was supported by National Key R&D Program of China grant number 2018YFC0309800, National Natural Science Foundation of China grant numbers 41606069, 41776058, 91628301 and U1606401 and Chinese Academy of Sciences grant numbers Y4SL021001 and QYZDY-SSW-DQC005. Y.H. was supported by China Scholarship Council grant number 2011633114 and the Yangtze Youth Fund No. 2015cqn31. M.N. was partly supported by JSPS KAKENHI grant numbers JP15K05261 and JP18K03772. W.W.S. was partly supported by NSF grant number OCE-1458908; M.T. and J.A.G. acknowledge NSF grant number OCE-1543903. The National Geographic Society provided a grant to assist scientists and students with cruise travel.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Sager, W.W., Huang, Y., Tominaga, M. et al. Oceanic plateau formation by seafloor spreading implied by Tamu Massif magnetic anomalies. Nat. Geosci. 12, 661–666 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0390-y
Insights into the petrogenesis of an intraplate volcanic province: Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf isotope geochemistry of the Bathymetrists Seamount Province, eastern equatorial Atlantic
Chemical Geology (2020)
Journal of Ocean University of China (2020)
Earth and Planetary Science Letters (2020)
Sea-level fluctuations driven by changes in global ocean basin volume following supercontinent break-up
Earth-Science Reviews (2020)