Ultraslow Spreading and Volcanism at the Eastern End of Gakkel Ridge, Arctic Ocean

Wilfried Jokat*, John O'Connor, Folkmar Hauff, Anthony A.P. Koppers, Dan P. Miggins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Ultraslow spreading ridges are poorly understood plate boundaries consisting of magmatic and amagmatic segments that expose mostly mantle peridotite and only traces of basalt and gabbro. The slowest part of the global spreading system is represented by the eastern Gakkel Ridge in the Central Arctic Ocean, where crustal accretion is characterized by extreme focusing of melt to discrete magmatic centers. Close to its eastern tip lies the unusual 5,310-m-deep Gakkel Ridge Deep (GRD) with limited sediment infill, which is in strong contrast to the broader sediment-filled rift valleys to the east and west. Here, we report an 40Ar/39Ar age of 3.65 ± 0.01 Ma for a pillow basalt from a seamount located on the rim the GRD, confirming ultraslow spreading rates of ~7 mm/year close to the Laptev Sea as suggested from aeromagnetic data. Its geochemistry points to an alkaline lava, attributed to partial melting of a source that underwent prior geochemical enrichment. We note that the GRD extracts compositionally similar melts as the sparsely magmatic zone further west but at much slower spreading velocities of only ~6−7 mm/year, indicating the widespread occurrence of similarly fertile mantle in the High Arctic. This enriched source differs from subcontinental lithospheric mantle that influences magmatism along the Western Volcanic Zone (Goldstein et al., 2008, https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06919) and is similar to metasomatized mantle, shown to influence melt genesis along the Eastern Volcanic Zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6033-6050
Number of pages18
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Arctic Ocean
  • Eastern Gakkel Ridge
  • ultra slow spreading


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