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Magmatism of Shatsky Rise controlled by plume–ridge interaction


Shatsky Rise is a large oceanic plateau formed at a spreading ridge triple junction, but its origin mechanism is unclear. Voluminous magmatism at Shatsky Rise has been regarded either as the product of decompression melting of fertile recycled material in a divergent plate boundary setting (plate model) or a hot mantle plume head (plume model). Here we use thermodynamic models to simulate decompression melting of heterogeneous mantle sources. We provide constraints on both mantle potential temperature and fertile source abundance under seafloor spreading and plume–ridge interaction scenarios. As constrained by crustal thickness and lava chemical compositions, a seafloor spreading origin requires mantle potential temperatures of 1,490–1,585 °C, which are unreasonably high for mid-ocean ridge systems far from hotspots. In contrast, the plume–ridge interaction model can explain observations with mantle potential temperatures of 1,470–1,515 °C for the buoyant plume and upwelling rates up to six times the rate of plate separation during the formation of the main massifs. Fertile recycled material comprises less than 7% of the mantle source, and predicted melt fractions are consistent with independent estimates. We thus suggest that Shatsky Rise magmatism is best explained by plume–ridge interaction—a combination of the plume and plate models.

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Fig. 1: Geophysical and geochemical observations of Shatsky Rise.
Fig. 2: Seafloor spreading model results.
Fig. 3: Plume–ridge interaction model results.
Fig. 4: Summary of observations and model results.
Fig. 5: Comparison to Tp of global plumes and mid-ocean ridges.
Fig. 6: Concept map illustrating plume–ridge interaction at plume head and tail stages.

Data availability

The crustal thickness data presented in the study are from ref. 11. The trace element data presented in the study are from refs. 13,58, and the isotopic data are from refs. 14,15. All the observational data and model results can also be accessed at

Code availability

The REEBOX PRO was downloaded from For more details of the model, please contact E.L.B. (


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We are grateful for helpful discussion with Marine Geodynamics Group at South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. This study is supported by Natural Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars of Guangdong Province (2021B1515020098), National Natural Science Foundation of China (41890813, 42206070, 42376071), Hainan Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (421QN381), Science and Technology Program of Guangzhou (202201010221), Chinese Academy of Sciences Project (131551KYSB20200021, 133244KYSB20180029, Y4SL021) and Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission (JCYJ20220818100417038, KCXFZ20211020174803005). E.L.B. is supported by Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond (FNU; 8021-00202B), and W.W.S. is supported by the US National Science Foundation (OCE1832197).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



J.Z. initiated the project. J.Z. and X.Z. conceived the research. E.L.B. and X.Z. designed and conducted numerical modelling. X.B. provided the mantle potential temperatures of global mid-ocean ridges and hotspots. J.L. and W.W.S. advised on result interpretation. X.Z., E.L.B. and J.Z. drafted the paper, and all authors discussed the results and commented on the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Jinchang Zhang or Jian Lin.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Nature Geoscience thanks Keith Putirka, Takashi Sano and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Primary Handling Editor: Xujia Jiang, in collaboration with the Nature Geoscience team.

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Extended data

Extended Data Fig. 1 Geochemical characteristics of Shatsky Rise magmatism.

(a, b) Trace element ratios Zr/Ti and Nb/Sc versus Nb/Ti. (c) Primitive mantle normalized trace element patterns. (d) Source-age corrected 143Nd/144Nd and 176Hf/177Hf isotopic compositions. Based on the trace element ratios, the samples were divided into four types: U1349, Normal, Low-Ti, and High-Nb types13. The trace element data were selected from refs. 13,58. The 143Nd/144Nd and 176Hf/177Hf isotopic data were selected from refs. 14,15,59. The NMORB and OIB (Ocean Island Basalt) reference data were selected from ref. 60. For comparison, the geochemical data of samples drilled from nearby normal oceanic crust14 (ODP Site 1179) and Hess Rise15 (DSDP Sites 464 and 465) were also included.

Extended Data Fig. 2 Geophysical and geochemical properties of different peridotites and pyroxenites.

(a) Solidi of DMM, enriched peridotite (pyrolite), and pyroxenites (G2, KG1, and MIX1G). The solidi were selected from refs. 22,23. The adiabat was calculated by the REEBOX PRO model with Tp of 1360 °C. (b) Natural pyroxenite compositions (grey circles) plotted in the projection scheme of ref. 61. The G2, KG1 and MIX1G pyroxenites included in REEBOX PRO span much of this range, with KG1 and MIX1G pyroxenites plotting on the silica-deficient side (SD) and G2 pyroxenite plotting on the silica-excess (SE) side of the En-CaTs tie-line. Pyrolite62 and DMM48 compositions are shown in green for reference. Fo = Forsterite, CaTs = Calcium Tschermak, En = Enstatite, and Di = Diopside.

Extended Data Fig. 3 Solidus mineral modes parameterized in REEBOX PRO.

(a) DMM, (b) pyrolite, (c) G2 pyroxenite, (d) KG1 pyroxenite, and (e) MIX1G pyroxenite.

Extended Data Fig. 4 Decompression melting behavior of homogeneous and heterogeneous mantle sources.

The Tp was set as 1360 °C. (a) Decompression melting behavior of a homogeneous mantle source assuming 100% of each individual lithology. (be) Decompression melting behavior of a heterogeneous mantle source with 95% DMM and 5% pyrolite or 5% pyroxenite (G2, KG1, and MIX1G).

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Model sensitivity analysis, Supplementary Figs. 1–26, Table 1 and References.

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Zhang, X., Brown, E.L., Zhang, J. et al. Magmatism of Shatsky Rise controlled by plume–ridge interaction. Nat. Geosci. 16, 1061–1069 (2023).

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