Geodynamic and Geochemical Evolution of the Fiji Region

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The Fiji islands are the world's most ac- cessible Cenozoic remnant arc. They provide occasional subaerial exposures of an arc frag- ment some 750 km long and 80 km wide, or about the size of the NE Japan volcanic arc. The fragment is one part of the former Vitiaz Arc which once connected Fiji to Vanuatu and Tonga. The Fijian portion has the most completely stu- died Tertiary section which contains a history of arc volcanism from the late Eocene to late Miocene (the Early and Mature Arc stages), a rich diversity of subsequent magmatic responses to the most recent episode of arc rifting (Ear- ly Rifting stage), and an example of transition from arc to intraplate volcanism as this rift- ing proceeded (Late Rifting stage). The arc fragment is surrounded by younger backarc ba- sins. The chemical composition of magmas in both the arc and backarc changed with time, but in opposite directions. In the arc, magmas be- came enriched in sialic components from the Early Arc to Early Rifting stages, whereas in the basins the magmas became more similar to mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORBs) with time. In southwest Fiji, the oldest backarc basin has subducted obliquely beneath the remnant arc du- ring the last 3 Ma, resulting in chemically ex- otic calcalkaline volcanism. During the last decade over 150 radiome- tric age measurements and 650 rock analyses, many with trace element and isotopic measure- ments, have been obtained for samples from Fi- ji, Tonga, and the surrounding seafloor (Figs. 1 and 2). These data are summarized, drawing from the publications of Colley and Hindle (1984), Gill et al. (1984), Hawkins and Melchi- or (1985), Kroencke (1984), Malahoff et al. (1984), Scholl et al. (1985) and Whelan et al. (1985), from the specific research papers refe- renced therein, and from the half dozen or so manuscripts currently in preparation by these people and others.
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