From Ophiolites to Oceanic Crust: Sheeted Dike Complexes and Seafloor Spreading

  • Jeffrey A. KarsonEmail author
Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)


Persistent, coordinated plate separation and dike intrusion generate sheeted dike complexes in oceanic crust at mid-ocean ridge spreading centers and other magmatic rifts. Although sheeted dike complexes were first described in ophiolite complexes, investigations of dikes, dike intrusion events and sheeted dike complexes in the oceanic crust have provided new constraints on how sheeted dike complexes form and their significance for the accretion of oceanic crust at spreading centers. Despite the general appearance of a monotonous array of side-by-side intrusions, details of sheeted dike complexes hold important keys to understanding the fundamentals of the tectonics, magma plumbing networks and hydrothermal/biological systems at mid-ocean ridges. In situ investigations of sheeted dikes and related upper crustal units in seafloor exposures provide fundamental observations that have implications for deformation during spreading, the reconstruction of ophiolite complexes, and the restoration of ophiolite structures to spreading center reference frames.



Thanks to the many colleagues who have contributed so much to our investigations of ophiolites, the geology of the oceanic crust at sea, and analogous subaerial terranes. Thanks also to the National Science Foundation for the support of these diverse projects. Reviews by Craig Magee and Paul Robinson helped improve the presentation of material and interpretations in this manuscript.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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