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AGU Chapman Conference on Detachments in Oceanic Lithosphere: Deformation, Magmatism, Fluid Flow and Ecosystems

Rodon Hotel, Agros, Cyprus, 8-16 June 2010



Juan Pablo Canales, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts (USA),

Javier Escartín, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), IPGP, Paris (France),


Conference Objectives

Oceanic core complexes (OCCs) are deep sections of the oceanic lithosphere exhumed to the seafloor by long-lived detachment faults formed along the flanks of ultra-slow to intermediate-spreading mid-ocean ridges. These structures have attracted interest because: (1) provide windows into the oceanic lithosphere, (2) are an important component of lithospheric accretion along ridges, (3) host a large variety of high- and low-temperature hydrothermal fields and associated ecosystems, (4) represent an extreme case of strain localization and tectonic deformation, and (5) may provide insights into the origin and nature of continental metamorphic core complexes and detachment faulting in extensional continental margins. The goals of the conference are:

  • To share results and synthesize our current knowledge of OCCs, oceanic detachment faulting, and associated geological, chemical, and biological phenomena
  • To identify relevant scientific questions that remain unanswered, put forward new questions, and define both scientific experiments and an approach strategy to address them.

This will require the community to address the following science questions:

  1. How and under which conditions does detachment-faulting lead to the formation and development of OCCs? What are the mechanisms and conditions that promote and sustain strain localization over long periods of time, and the development of an OCC?
  2. What is the lithological structure of OCCs and its variability at scales of meters to tens of kilometers? What is the link between deformation and magmatic emplacement?
  3. What drives hydrothermal circulation in OCCs and detachment faults? What are the feedbacks between fluid circulation, deformation, and magmatic processes?
  4. What is the biodiversity and characteristics of ecosystems associated with OCCs, and how are they related to the style of hydrothermal circulation within OCCs and along detachment faults?
  5. What are the similarities and differences between oceanic and continental detachment faulting (including extensional margins)? How can current knowledge on continental core complex formation, continental breakup and initiation of seafloor spreading inform and contribute to advance research on OCCs?

Financial Sponsors

The conference organizers acknowledge the generous support of the following sponsors:

ESF       InterRidge      AGU      AGU

NSF       Ocean Leadership      IPGP      CNRS

Program Committee

Donna Blackman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California (USA),
Joe Cann, University of Leeds (UK),
Mathilde Cannat, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), IPGP, Paris (France),
Gretchen Früh-Green, ETH, Zurich (Switzerland)
Barbara John, University of Wyoming, Laramie (USA),
Gianreto Manatschal, Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre-Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg (France),
Andrew McCaig, University of Leeds (UK),
Eleni Morisseau, Cyprus Geological Survey Department, Lefkosia (Cyprus)
Stelios Nicolaides, Cyprus Geological Survey Department, Lefkosia (Cyprus),
Robert Reves-Sohn, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Massachusetts (USA),
Anna-Louise Reysenbach, Portland State University, Oregon (USA),
Cindy Van Dover, Duke University, Beaufort, North Carolina (USA),


Escartín, J., and J. P. Canales (2011), Detachments in Oceanic lithosphere: Deformation, Magmatism, Fluid Flow and Ecosystems. AGU Chapman Conference on Oceanic Detachments; Agros, Cyprus, 8–15 May 2010, Eos Trans. AGU, 92(4), 31, doi:10.1029/2011EO040003.