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.
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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.
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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
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