Melt volume at Atlantic volcanic rifted margins controlled by depth-dependent extension and mantle temperature
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNature Communications. 2021, 12, 3894. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23981-5
Breakup volcanism along rifted passive margins is highly variable in time and space. The factors controlling magmatic activity during continental rifting and breakup are not resolved and controversial. Here we use numerical models to investigate melt generation at rifted margins with contrasting rifting styles corresponding to those observed in natural systems. Our results demonstrate a surprising correlation of enhanced magmatism with margin width. This relationship is explained by depth-dependent extension, during which the lithospheric mantle ruptures earlier than the crust, and is confirmed by a semi-analytical prediction of melt volume over margin width. The results presented here show that the effect of increased mantle temperature at wide volcanic margins is likely over-estimated, and demonstrate that the large volumes of magmatism at volcanic rifted margin can be explained by depth- dependent extension and very moderate excess mantle potential temperature in the order of 50–80 °C, significantly smaller than previously suggested.