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Sea-Floor Sunday #51: Animation of Lau backarc basin with subsurface tomographic images

July 19, 2009

This week’s Sea-Floor Sunday is from a very cool website summarizing some research affiliated with the Ridge 2000 Program, which focuses on oceanic spreading ridge systems.

The below image is a screen-grab from a short animation that shows the bathymetry of the Lau Basin area (see general map of region on this post) combined with seismic tomographic images of the subducting Pacific Plate. This still image doesn’t do the visualization justice … click on the image below to go to the site and view the movie (it’s the third bullet-point in list).

Screen grab of short animation showing perspective views of Lau Basin bathymetry and subsurface tomography (credit:http://ridgeview.ucsd.edu/index_lau.html)

Screen grab of short animation showing perspective views of Lau Basin bathymetry and subsurface tomography (credit:http://ridgeview.ucsd.edu/index_lau.html)

Here is some information from the site about what data is included in the animation:

Movie of the spatial relationship of different data types near the … the Eastern Lau Spreading Center. For reference we include a mesh that represents the center of the subduction zone earthquakes, which extends to a depth of ~700 km. Other data include active volcanoes (orange cylinders), bathymetry (colored by elevation, vertical exaggeration 6X, spanning longitudes 180-188 and lattitueds -23 to -14), and historic earthquake data (pink spheres). The relatively shallow vertical cross-sections are long-axis multichannel seismic (MCS) data and the large scale red/blue/green/yellow verticle cross-sections are tomographic images, where the blue colors represent fast seismic velocities (likely cold mantle) and the orange/red colors represent slow velocities (likely warm mantle or melt regions).

Check it out.

~

Related to this area … Kevin Z. of Deep Sea News fame mentioned in his Twitter feed yesterday that he and colleagues have a paper out that deals with distribution of various fauna at hydrothermal vent sites along the Eastern Lau Spreading Center.

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