What is the magma plumbing system beneath a Mid-Ocean Ridge like?
Mid-Ocean Ridges are geologically important because they occur along divergent plate boundaries, where new ocean floor is created as the Earth's tectonic plates spread apart. They represent the longest and most significant chain of volcanoes on our planet, yet due to their remoteness remain relatively poorly studied. Establishing the details of the magmatic plumbing system beneath these systems is needed in order to understand how melt is delivered from the mantle to form new oceanic crust. I have completed a number of projects that used seismic data to determine the size and molten state of magma chambers beneath the southern and northern East Pacific Rise. We also determined physical properties of the oceanic crust above the magma chamber. We are currently working on a time-lapse study (using seismic data collected at different times) to directly relate the properties of the melt in the chamber to the known eruption history at the ridge axis.