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We present here the first geochemical data from adakitic rocks from an extensional system—the U.S. East Coast rifted margin. Adakitic magmas are high-K melts that have been petrogenetically interpreted to be partial melts of subducting slab and/or lower crustal lithologies in delamination events. The adakitic rocks presented here are from a small volcanic region in the Valley and Ridge province in Virginia and were probably emplaced around the time of continent rupture and Central Atlantic magmatic province activity. They are bimodal in character (high Si and low Si) and have the typical high- and low-Si adakitic geochemical characteristics such as high K2O (up to 9.88 wt%) abundances, steep rare earth element patterns, and significantly high Sr (2473 ppm) and relatively low Rb (35 ppm) contents for high-Si adakitic rocks. The petrogenetic relation of these melts to partial melting of metagabbroic rocks (high-Si adakites) and interaction of these melts with ambient peridotite (low-Si adakites) suggests that the geodynamic process for the formation of the studied Jurassic central Virginia igneous rock succession is delamination of mantle lithosphere and lower crust below the volcanic rifted margin. We present with geodynamic models that negatively buoyant mantle lithosphere instabilities developed below this passive margin during continent rupture. After foundering, warm asthenosphere welled up and heated the lower crust of the East Coast margin. This lithosphere was interspersed in our study area with fragmented hydrated metamorphic mafic to ultramafic lithologies. In situ and/or dripping melting of such meta-igneous rocks reproduces the observed geochemistry of the studied high-Si adakitic rocks. Further recycling processes within the convecting mantle of delaminated floating fertile meta-igneous rock packages could be responsible for Atlantic melting anomalies such as the Azores or Bermuda.

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