A Geochemical Study of Island Arc Volcanism

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The Northern Mariana archipelago in the W.Pacific forms a classic intra-oceanic island arc system far from the influences of continental crust. As such it offers an ideal location in which to study many of the problems of subduction-related volcanism. Radiogenic (Sr, Pb, Nd and Hf) and stable (0, S and H) isotope systems have been applied to the question of the possible involvement of components from the subducting slab in arc magmagenesis. The results contrast with earlier studies based upon limited sample suites and suggest that fluids, derived from the slab and enriched in mobile elements, substantially modify the composition of the mantle wedge and contribute to the characteristic geochemistry of arc magmas. Trace element data, including the occurrence of negative Ce-anomalies in the lavas seem consistent with this conclusion. Major and trace element variations within the arc lavas can be modelled in terms of crystal fractionation of a gabbroic mineral assemblage and mixing calculations indicate that this has the approximate composition of PLAG:CPX:MAG:OLIV = 60:25:10:5. This observation is compatible with the widespread occurrence of gabbroic nodules in lavas throughout the arc. Consideration of Rare Earth Element and phenocryst data leads to the conclusion that many of the more basic lavas may be the products of cumulus enrichment. The results of this study constitute a model for magmatic processes occurring in simple island arc systems, and may be generally applicable to other, more complex settings. The recognition of a return flux of material with 'continental' affinity to the mantle, via sediments on the subducting slab, also places strong constraints on geochemical models of crust-mantle evolution.
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