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This content will become publicly available on October 11, 2024

Title: Site U1578
The strategy for International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 391 was to drill at three distributed locations on Walvis Ridge and one in the Guyot Province, providing an age transect along the Tristan-Gough-Walvis (TGW) hotspot track. Site U1578 (proposed Site CT-5A) is located on the deep northwestern flank of an unnamed guyot that is part of the Center track, a ridge between the Tristan and Gough seamount tracks, southwest of where Walvis Ridge splits (Figures F1, F2).  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1326927
NSF-PAR ID:
10468484
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Publisher / Repository:
International Ocean Discovery Program
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition reports
Volume:
391
Issue:
106
ISSN:
2377-3189
Subject(s) / Keyword(s):
["International Ocean Discovery Program","IODP","JOIDES Resolution","Expedition 391","Walvis Ridge Hotspot","Site U1578","Earth Connections","Tristan-Gough-Walvis Hotspot","true polar wander","isotopic zonation","large low shear-wave velocity province","LLSVP","volcaniclastics","hyaloclastite","tephra","pillow lava flow","massive lava flow","very high-Ti basalt","fresh olive phenocrysts and volcanic glass","picrite"]
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Hotspot tracks (chains of seamounts, ridges, and other volcanic structures) provide important records of plate motions, as well as mantle geodynamics, magma flux, and mantle source compositions. The Tristan-Gough-Walvis Ridge (TGW) hotspot track, extending from the active volcanic islands of Tristan da Cunha and Gough through a province of guyots and then along Walvis Ridge to the Etendeka flood basalt province, forms one of the most prominent and complex global hotspot tracks. The TGW hotspot track displays a tight linear age progression in which ages increase from the islands to the flood basalts (covering ~135 My). Unlike Pacific tracks, which are often simple, nearly linear chains of seamounts, the TGW track is alternately a steep-sided narrow ridge, an oceanic plateau, subparallel linear ridges and chains of seamounts (most are flat-topped guyots). The track displays isotopic zonation over the last ~70 My. The zonation appears near the middle of the track just before it splits into two to three chains of ridge- and guyot-type seamounts. Walvis Ridge, forming the older part of the track, is also overprinted with age-progressive late-stage volcanism, which was emplaced ~30–40 My after the initial eruptions and has a distinct isotopic composition. The plan for Expedition 391 was to drill at six sites, three along Walvis Ridge and three in the seamounts of the Guyot Province, to collect igneous rocks to better understand the formation of volcanic edifices, the temporal and geochemical evolution of the hotspot, and the variation in paleolatitudes at which the volcanic edifices formed. After a delay of 18 days to address a shipboard Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Expedition 391 proceeded to drill at four of the proposed sites: three sites on Walvis Ridge around Valdivia Bank, an ocean plateau within the ridge, and one site on the lower flank of a guyot in the Center track of the Guyot Province, a ridge located between the Tristan subtrack (which extends from the end of Walvis Ridge to the islands of Tristan da Cunha) and the Gough subtrack (which extends from Walvis Ridge to Gough Island). The first hole was drilled at Site U1575, located on a low portion of the northeastern Walvis Ridge just north of Valdivia Bank. At this location, 209.9 m of sediments and 122.4 m of igneous basement were cored. The sediments ranged in age from Late Pleistocene (~0.43–1.24 Ma) to Late Cretaceous (Campanian; 72–78 Ma). The igneous basement comprised 10 submarine lava units consisting of pillow, lobate, sheet, and massive lava flows, the thickest of which was ~21 m. Most lavas are tholeiitic, but some alkalic basalts were recovered. A portion of the igneous succession consists of low-Ti basalts, which are unusual because they appear in the Etendeka flood basalts but have not been previously found on Walvis Ridge. Two holes were drilled at Site U1576 on the west flank of Valdivia Bank. The first of these holes was terminated because a bit jammed shortly after entering the igneous basement. Hole U1576A recovered a remarkable ~380 m thick sedimentary section consisting mostly of chalk covering a nearly complete sequence from Late Pleistocene (~0.43–1.24 Ma) to Late Cretaceous (Campanian; ~79–81.38 Ma). These sediments display short and long cyclic color changes that imply astronomically forced and longer term paleoenvironmental changes. The igneous basement recovered in Hole U1576B yielded 11 submarine lava units (total thickness = ~65 m). The flows range from pillows to massive flows with compositions varying from tholeiitic basalt to basaltic andesite, only the second occurrence of the latter composition recovered from the TGW track thus far. These units are separated by seven sedimentary chalk units that range 0.1–11.6 m in thickness, implying a long-term interplay of sedimentation and lava eruptions. These intercalated sediments revealed Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) ages of ~77–79 Ma for the upper two interbeds and ~79–81.38 Ma for the lower beds. Coring at Site U1577, on the extreme eastern flank of Valdivia Bank, penetrated a 154.8 m thick sedimentary section ranging from the Paleocene (Thanetian; ~58.8 Ma) to Upper Cretaceous (Campanian; ~81.43–83.20 Ma). Igneous basement coring progressed only 39.1 m below the sediment/basalt contact, recovering three massive submarine tholeiitic basalt lava flows that are 4.1, 15.5, and >19.1 m thick, respectively. Paleomagnetic data from Sites U1577 and U1576 indicate that the former volcanic basement formed just before the end of the Cretaceous Normal Superchron and the latter during Chron 33r, shortly afterward. Biostratigraphic and paleomagnetic data suggest that Valdivia Bank becomes younger from east to west. Site U1578, located on a Center track guyot, provided a long and varied igneous section. After coring through 184.3 m of pelagic carbonate sediments mainly consisting of Eocene and Paleocene chalk (~55.64–63.5 Ma), Hole U1578A cored 302.1 m of igneous basement. Basement lavas are largely pillows but are interspersed with sheet and massive flows. Lava compositions are mostly alkalic basalts with some hawaiite. Several intervals contain abundant olivine (some fresh), and some of the pillow stacks consist of basalt with remarkably high Ti content. The igneous sequence is interrupted by 10 sedimentary interbeds consisting of chalk and volcaniclastics and ranging 0.46–10.19 m in thickness. Investigations of toothpick samples from the intercalated sediments were examined, each revealing the same age range of ~63.5–64.81 Ma (lower Paleocene; Danian). Paleomagnetic data display a change in basement magnetic polarity ~100 m above the base of the hole. Combining magnetic stratigraphy with biostratigraphic data, the igneous section is inferred to span >1 My. Nearly 7 months after Expedition 391, JOIDES Resolution transited from Cape Town to the north Atlantic. During this transit (Expedition 397T), 7.9 days of ship time were used to drill two holes (U1584A and U1585A) at sites on the Gough and Tristan tracks that had been omitted because of COVID-19–related time loss on the earlier cruise. For both, coring was begun only a short distance above the igneous basement to save time. The 75.2 m thick section drilled in Hole U1584A contains two sedimentary units: clay-rich carbonate sediments overlie a pumice-dominated volcaniclastic deposit containing basalt fragments. Because the goal was to core basalt and the base of the volcaniclastic deposit was not imaged in the seismic profile, the hole was terminated early to save operation time for the next site. In Hole U1585A, coring penetrated a 273.5 m thick sediment section overlying an 81.2 m thick pile of massive basalt flows. The sediment section is divided into four units: The uppermost unit consists of nannofossil chalk; The two intermediate units contain alternating chalk and volcaniclastic sediments containing several breccia units; and The lowermost unit consists of volcanic breccia containing juvenile blocks, bombs, and accretionary lapilli. This thick sedimentary section documents a transition from shallow-water volcanism to open-ocean sedimentation as the seamount subsided. The thick underlying basalt section is made up of four sparsely to highly phyric massive flows, the thickest of which is >43 m thick. Samples of these units are mostly basalt with a few trachybasalts and one trachyandesite. Although the igneous penetration was less than planned, coring during Expeditions 391 and 397T obtained samples that clearly will lead to an improved understanding of the evolution of the TGW hotspot and its track. Reasonable recovery of fresh basalt in some holes provides ample samples for geochemical, geochronologic, and paleomagnetic studies. Good recovery of Late Cretaceous and early Cenozoic chalk successions provides samples for paleoenvironmental study. 
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  2. Hotspot tracks (quasilinear chains of seamounts, ridges, and other volcanic structures) provide important records of plate motions, as well as mantle geodynamics, magma flux, and mantle source compositions. The Tristan-Gough-Walvis Ridge (TGW) hotspot track, extending from the active volcanic islands of Tristan da Cunha and Gough through a province of guyots and then along Walvis Ridge to the Etendeka flood basalt province, forms one of the most prominent and complex global hotspot tracks. The TGW hotspot track displays a tight linear age progression in which ages increase from the islands to the flood basalts (covering ~135 My). Unlike Pacific tracks, which are simple chains of seamounts that are often compared to chains of pearls, the TGW track is alternately a steep-sided narrow ridge, an oceanic plateau, subparallel linear ridges and chains of seamounts, and areas of what appear to be randomly dispersed seamounts. The track displays isotopic zonation over the last ~70 My. The zonation appears near the middle of the track just before it splits into two to three chains of ridge- and guyot-type seamounts. The older ridge is also overprinted with age-progressive late-stage volcanism, which was emplaced ~30–40 My after the initial eruptions and has a distinct isotopic composition. The plan for Expedition 391 was to drill at six sites, three along Walvis Ridge and three in the seamount (guyot) province, to gather igneous rocks to better understand the formation of track edifices, the temporal and geochemical evolution of the hotspot, and the variation in paleolatitudes at which the volcanic edifices formed. After a delay of 18 days to address a shipboard outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus, Expedition 391 proceeded to drill at four of the proposed sites: three sites on the eastern Walvis Ridge around Valdivia Bank, an ocean plateau within the ridge, and one site on the lower flank of a guyot in the Center track, a ridge located between the Tristan subtrack (which extends from the end of Walvis Ridge to the island of Tristan da Cunha) and the Gough subtrack (which extends from Walvis Ridge to the island of Gough). One hole was drilled at Site U1575, located on a low portion of the northeastern Walvis Ridge north of Valdivia Bank. At this location, 209.9 m of sediments and 122.4 m of igneous basement were cored. The latter comprised 10 submarine lava units consisting of pillow, lobate, sheet, and massive lava flows, the thickest of which was ~21 m. Most lavas are tholeiitic, but some alkalic basalts were recovered. A portion of the igneous succession consists of low-Ti basalts, which are unusual because they appear in the Etendeka flood basalts but have not been previously found on Walvis Ridge. Two holes were drilled at Site U1576 on the west flank of Valdivia Bank. The first hole was terminated because a bit jammed shortly after penetrating igneous basement. Hole U1576A recovered a remarkable ~380 m thick sedimentary section consisting mostly of chalk covering a nearly complete sequence from Paleocene to Late Cretaceous (Campanian). These sediments display short and long cyclic color changes that imply astronomically forced and longer term paleoenvironmental changes. The igneous basement yielded 11 submarine lava units ranging from pillows to massive flows, which have compositions varying from tholeiitic basalt to basaltic andesite, the first occurrence of this composition recovered from the TGW track. These units are separated by seven sedimentary chalk units that range in thickness from 0.1 to 11.6 m, implying a long-term interplay of sedimentation and lava eruptions. Coring at Site U1577, on the extreme eastern flank of Valdivia Bank, penetrated a 154 m thick sedimentary section, the bottom ~108 m of which is Maastrichtian–Campanian (possibly Santonian) chalk with vitric tephra layers. Igneous basement coring progressed only 39.1 m below the sediment-basalt contact, recovering three massive submarine tholeiite basalt lava flows that are 4.1, 15.5, and >19.1 m thick, respectively. Paleomagnetic data from Sites U1577 and U1576 indicate that their volcanic basements formed just before the end of the Cretaceous Normal Superchron and during Chron 33r, shortly afterward, respectively. Biostratigraphic and paleomagnetic data suggest an east–west age progression across Valdivia Bank, becoming younger westward. Site U1578, located on a Center track guyot, provided a long and varied igneous section. After coring through 184.3 m of pelagic carbonate sediments mainly consisting of Eocene and Paleocene chalk, Hole U1578A cored 302.1 m of igneous basement. Basement lavas are largely pillows but are interspersed with sheet and massive flows. Lava compositions are mostly alkalic basalts with some hawaiite. Several intervals contain abundant olivine, and some of the pillow stacks consist of basalt with remarkably high Ti content. The igneous sequence is interrupted by 10 sedimentary interbeds consisting of chalk and volcaniclastics and ranging in thickness from 0.46 to 10.19 m. Paleomagnetic data display a change in basement magnetic polarity ~100 m above the base of the hole. Combining magnetic stratigraphy with biostratigraphic data, the igneous section is inferred to span >1 My. Abundant glass from pillow lava margins was recovered at Sites U1575, U1576, and U1578. Although the igneous penetration was only two-thirds of the planned amount, drilling during Expedition 391 obtained samples that clearly will lead to a deeper understanding of the evolution of the Tristan-Gough hotspot and its track. Relatively fresh basalts with good recovery will provide ample samples for geochemical, geochronologic, and paleomagnetic studies. Good recovery of Late Cretaceous and early Cenozoic chalk successions provides samples for paleoenvironmental study. 
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  3. During International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 391, the Tristan-Gough-Walvis Ridge (TGW) hotspot track was cored in December 2021–February 2022. Its overarching objective was to recover basaltic rock from TGW edifices to understand the evolution of Walvis Ridge and related guyots. Significant cuts to the Expedition 391 operational plan were necessary as a result of lost time due to COVID-19 mitigation procedures. Because the R/V JOIDES Resolution will pass over Walvis Ridge during the transit from Cape Town, South Africa, to Lisbon, Portugal, prior to IODP Expedition 397, the 3 week transit provides an opportunity to drill one or two holes that were planned but not cored during Expedition 391. The transit schedule indicates that ~7 days of ship time will be available for this effort. Coring will be attempted at one or two sites, depending on weather and operational difficulties. The first site to be cored will be proposed Site GT-6A on the flank of the Gough track ridge. If time permits, coring will also be done at proposed Site TT-3A on the Tristan track, completing the proposed transect across the three chains of the Walvis Ridge guyot province. Two operational strategies are planned to address the limited time available. First, the ~164 m thick (Site GT-6A) and ~146 m thick (Site TT-3A) sediment sections will be drilled without coring to ~20 m above basement. Primary Site GT-6A, which is ~1.1 km upslope from alternate Site GT-4A, was specifically proposed because of its reduced sediment thickness. 
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  4. The strategy of Expedition 391 was to core at six distributed locations on the Tristan-Gough-Walvis (TGW) hotspot track, providing new insights into the temporal, volcanologic, petrologic, geochemical and paleomagnetic evolution of the hotspot track (see Scientific objectives in the Expedition 391 summary chapter [Sager et al., 2023c]). At the youngest and westernmost of these locations, three sites were proposed as a transect across the northern Guyot Province seamounts and ridges immediately southwest of the morphologic split that occurs at about 2°E (Figure F1). Because of severe cuts to operational time on that expedition caused by COVID-19 mitigation, two proposed sites (GT-4A and TT-4A) were omitted (see Introduction in the Expedition 391 summary chapter [Sager et al., 2023c]). Only the middle site (U1578) was cored (Figures F1, F2). This omission was a major deficiency for Expedition 391, because the three holes were positioned to sample the isotopic split that first occurs farther northeast, at the location of the DSDP Leg 74 transect (Hoernle et al., 2015). By omitting the ends of the transect, only dredge samples are available to characterize the isotopic end-members, which correspond to the Tristan track (northern seamounts that connect Walvis Ridge with the Tristan Island group) and the Gough track (southern seamounts that connect Walvis Ridge to the Gough Island group). 
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  5. International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 397T sought to address the shortage of drilling time caused by COVID-19 mitigation during Expedition 391 (Walvis Ridge Hotspot) by drilling at two sites omitted from the earlier cruise. A week of coring time was added to a transit of JOIDES Resolution from Cape Town to Lisbon, which would cross Walvis Ridge on its way north. These two sites were located on two of the three seamount trails that emerge from the split in Walvis Ridge morphology into several seamount chains at 2°E. Site U1584 (proposed Site GT-6A) sampled the Gough track on the southeast side of the hotspot track, and Site U1585 (proposed Site TT-4A) sampled the Tristan track on the northwest side. Together with Site U1578, drilled on the Center track during Expedition 391, they form a transect across the northern Walvis Ridge Guyot Province. The goal was to core seamount basalts and associated volcanic material for geochemical and isotopic, geochronologic, paleomagnetic, and volcanological study. Scientifically, one emphasis was to better understand the split in isotopic signatures that occurs at the morphologic split. Geochronology would add to the established age progression but also give another dimension to understanding Walvis Ridge seamount formation by giving multiple ages at the same sites. The paleomagnetic study seeks to establish paleolatitudes for Walvis Ridge sites for comparison with those published from hotspot seamount chains in the Pacific, in particular to test whether a component of true polar wander affects hotspot paleolatitude. Hole U1584A cored a 66.4 m thick sedimentary and volcaniclastic section with two lithostratigraphic units. Unit I is a 23 m thick sequence of bioturbated clay and nannofossil chalk with increasing volcaniclastic content downhole. Unit II is a >43 m thick sequence of lapillistone with basalt fragments. Because the seismic section crossing the site shows no evidence as to the depth of the volcaniclastic cover, coring was terminated early. Because there were no other shallow sites nearby with different characteristics on existing seismic lines, the unused operations time from Site U1584 was shifted to the next site. The seismic reflector interpreted as the top of igneous rock at Site U1585 once again resulted from volcaniclastic deposits. Hole U1585A coring began at 144.1 mbsf and penetrated a 273.5 m thick sedimentary and volcaniclastic section atop a 81.2 m thick series of massive basalt flows. The hole was terminated at 498.8 mbsf because allotted operational time expired. The sedimentary section contains four main lithostratigraphic units. Unit I (144.1–157.02 mbsf) is a bioturbated nannofossil chalk with foraminifera, similar to the shallowest sediments recovered at Site U1584. Unit II (157.02–249.20 mbsf), which is divided into two subunits, is a 92.2 m thick succession of massive and bedded pumice and scoria lapillistone with increased reworking, clast alteration, and tuffaceous chalk intercalations downhole. Unit III (249.20–397.76 mbsf) is 148.6 m thick and consists of a complex succession of pink to greenish gray tuffaceous chalk containing multiple thin, graded ash turbidites and tuffaceous ash layers; intercalated tuffaceous chalk slumps; and several thick coarse lapilli and block-dominated volcaniclastic layers. Befitting its complexity, this unit is divided into eight subunits (IIIA–IIIH). Three of these subunits (IIIA, IIID, and IIIG) are mainly basalt breccias. Unit IV (397.76–417.60 mbsf) is a volcanic breccia, 19.8 m thick, containing mostly juvenile volcaniclasts. The igneous section, Unit V (417.60–498.80 mbsf) is composed of a small number of massive basaltic lava flows. It is divided into three igneous lithologic units, with Unit 2 represented by a single 3 cm piece of quenched basalt with olivine phenocrysts in a microcrystalline groundmass. This piece may represent a poorly recovered set of pillow lavas. Unit 1 is sparsely to highly olivine-clinopyroxene ± plagioclase phyric massive basalt and is divided into Subunits 1a and 1b based on textural and mineralogical differences, which suggests that they are two different flows. Unit 3 also consists of two massive lava flows with no clear boundary features. Subunit 3a is a 10.3 m thick highly clinopyroxene-plagioclase phyric massive basalt flow with a fine-grained groundmass. Subunit 3b is a featureless massive basalt flow that is moderately to highly clinopyroxene-olivine-plagioclase phyric and >43.7 m thick. Alteration of the lava flows is patchy and moderate to low in grade, with two stages, one at a higher temperature and one at a low temperature, both focused around fractures. The Site U1585 chronological succession from basalt flows to pelagic sediment indicates volcanic construction and subsidence. Lava eruptions were followed by inundation and shallow-water volcaniclastic sediment deposition, which deepened over time to deepwater conditions. Although the massive flows were probably erupted in a short time and have little variability, volcaniclasts in the sediments may provide geochemical and geochronologic data from a range of time and sources. Chemical analyses indicate that Site U1585 basalt samples are mostly alkalic basalt, with a few trachybasalt flow and clast samples and one basaltic trachyandesite clast. Ti/V values lie mostly within the oceanic island basalt (OIB) field but overlap the mid-ocean-ridge basalt (MORB) field. Only a handful of clasts from Site U1584 were analyzed, but geochemical data are similar. Paleomagnetic data from Site U1585 indicate that the sediments and basalt units are strongly magnetic and mostly give coherent inclination data, which indicates that the basaltic section and ~133 m of overlying volcaniclastic sediment is reversely polarized and that this reversal is preserved in a core. Above this, the rest of the sediment section records two normal and two reversed zones. Although there are not enough basalt flows to give a reliable paleolatitude, it may be possible to attain such a result from the sediments. 
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