Mantle genesis and crustal evolution of primitive calc-alkaline basaltic magmas from the Lesser Antilles Arc
M. Pichavant, R. Macdonald, 2003. "Mantle genesis and crustal evolution of primitive calc-alkaline basaltic magmas from the Lesser Antilles Arc", Intra-Oceanic Subduction Systems: Tectonic and Magmatic Processes, R. D. Larter, P. T. Leat
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Most eruptive rocks in the Lesser Antilles arc are compositionally evolved. However, lavas with primitive characteristics do occur including, in the central part of the arc, a suite of rocks from Soufriere, St Vincent, and the Ilet à Ramiers basalt from Martinique. High-pressure experiments performed on a Soufriere basalt point to a spinel lherzolite source. Glass inclusion data and phase equilibria analysis suggest extraction of the Soufriere melt under relatively dry conditions (c. 2 wt% H2O in melt). Using estimates of the H2O content of mantle sources fluxed by an hydrous slab-derived component, H2O concentrations as high as 5 wt% are considered possible for primary mantle melts in the Lesser Antilles arc. Experiments at low pressures (4 kbar) simulate the evolution of primitive melts within the arc crust. For elevated melt H2O concentrations (6–8.5 wt%), derivative liquids ranging from low-MgO basalt to basaltic andesite are generated at 1050–1100°C. Their crystallization at 950–1000°C yield andesitic liquids similar to those erupting at active volcanic centres such as Mt Pelée, Martinique, and Soufriere Hills, Montserrat. Therefore, experimental data support the derivation of Lesser Antilles arc eruptives by different degrees of fractionation from primary mantle melts.
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Intra-Oceanic Subduction Systems: Tectonic and Magmatic Processes
Recycling of oceanic plate back into the Earth’s interior at subduction zones is one of the key processes in Earth evolution. Volcanic arcs, which form above subduction zones, are the most visible manifestations of plate tectonics, the convection mechanism by which the Earth loses excess heat They are probably also the main location where new continental crust is formed, the so-called ‘subduction factory’. About 40% modern subduction zones on Earth are intra-oceanic. These subduction systems are generally simpler than those at continental margins as they commonly have a shorter history of subduction and their magmas are not contaminated by ancient sialic crust. They are therefore the optimum locations for studies of mantle processes and magmatic addition to the crust in subduction zones.
This volume contains a collection of papers that exploit the relative simplicity of intra-oceanic subduction systems to provide insights into the tectonic, magmatic and hydrothermal processes associated with subduction.