EGU2020-337, updated on 12 Jun 2020
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A novel approach for oceanic spreading terrain classification at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge using Eigenvalues of high-resolution bathymetry

Gabriella Alodia1, Chris Green1,2, Andrew McCaig1, and Douglas Paton1
Gabriella Alodia et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom (
  • 2GETECH, plc., Leeds, United Kingdom

Terrain classification at slow-spreading ridges has been a topic of interest since the significant discovery of mantle rocks exhumed by detachment faults in various segments of the Mid-Atlantic spreading axis. These rocks commonly form domed massifs, so-called core complexes, in contrast to the linear fault-bounded abyssal hills of magmatic spreading terrains. However, there is still limited quantitative description of these two distinct structures. We present analysis of high-resolution bathymetry data 21-24 N over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and its derivatives to highlight the shapes and directionality of the two oceanic crust features. We assign an optimized 8 arc-minute (~14.8 km) window, mimicking the average size of core complexes, in which we compute the Eigenvalues from each cell within the window based on its directionality and slope. We use the two most dominant Eigenvalues – representing the window’s overall horizontal directionality – to compute eccentricity values and weight them with the sine of the slope. From the computation, we found that areas with weighted eccentricity of 0-0.6 represent the omnidirectional terrains that result from tectonic activities; 0.6-0.9 represents the extended terrain or the buffer zone between the tectonic and magmatic terrains; values >0.9 highlight bidirectional magmatic terrains. Based on this classification, we found significantly more evidence of detachment faulting west of the spreading axis compared to the eastern side. This analysis also highlights neo-volcanic activity that started at around 2 Ma that propagates to the south, cutting a fracture zone before it became inactive. The result contributes to a new approach in mining information from high-resolution bathymetry data to assess oceanic spreading type and its symmetry at a slow-spreading ridge through time.

How to cite: Alodia, G., Green, C., McCaig, A., and Paton, D.: A novel approach for oceanic spreading terrain classification at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge using Eigenvalues of high-resolution bathymetry, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-337,, 2019

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  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-337, Anouk Beniest, 07 May 2020

    Hey Gabriella, 
    I really liked your presentation! I was curious, in which language is the algorythm written and will the code be made open at some point? I look froward to outcomes of your work! 

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Gabriella Alodia, 07 May 2020

      Hi Anouk,

      Really nice knowing you from this session. I use MatLab to build the algorithm. I'll have to wait for my paper to be reviewed before opening the code to a wider audience I suppose!