New insights into the age and origin of two small Cretaceous seamount chains proximal to the Northwestern Hawaiian Ridge
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New insights into the age and origin of two small Cretaceous seamount chains proximal to the Northwestern Hawaiian Ridge

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  • Journal Title:
    Geosphere
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    The Northwestern Hawaiian Ridge is an age-progressive volcanic chain sourced from the Hawaiian mantle plume. Proximal to the Northwestern Hawaiian Ridge are several clusters of smaller seamounts and ridges with limited age constraints and unknown geodynamic origins. This study presents new bathymetric data and 40Ar/39Ar age determinations from lava flow samples recovered by remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from two east–west-trending chains of seamounts that lie north of the Pūhāhonu and Mokumanamana volcanoes. The previously unexplored Naifeh Chain (28°48′N,167°48′W) and Plumeria Chain (25°36′N, 164°35′W) contain five volcanic structures each, including three guyots in the Naifeh Chain. New 40Ar/39Ar age determinations indicate that the Naifeh Chain formed ca. 88 Ma and the Plumeria Chain ca. 85 Ma. The Cretaceous ages, coupled with a perpendicular orientation of the seamounts relative to absolute Pacific plate motion at that time, eliminate either a Miocene Hawaiian volcanic arch or Cretaceous mantle-plume origin. The seamounts lie on oceanic crust that is modeled to be 10–15 Ma older than the corresponding seamounts. Here, two models are put forth to explain the origin of these enigmatic seamount chains as well as the similar nearby Mendelssohn Seamounts. (1) Diffuse lithospheric extension results in the formation of these seamounts until the initiation of the Kula-Pacific spreading center in the north at 84–79 Ma, which alleviates the tension. (2) Shear-driven upwelling of enriched mantle material beneath young oceanic lithosphere results in an age-progressive seamount track that is approximately perpendicular to the spreading ridge. Here we show that all sampled seamounts proximal to the Northwestern Hawaiian Ridge are intraplate in nature, but their formations can be attributed to both plume and plate processes.
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    Geosphere, 19(2), 383-405
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    1553-040X
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