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Post-breakup lithosphere recycling below the U.S. East Coast: Evidence from adakitic rocks

By
Romain Meyer
Romain Meyer
Centre for Geobiology and Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen, Bergen 5006, Norway
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Jolante van Wijk
Jolante van Wijk
Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico 87801, USA
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Published:
October 01, 2015

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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GSA Special Papers

The Interdisciplinary Earth: A Volume in Honor of Don L. Anderson

Gillian R. Foulger
Gillian R. Foulger
Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
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Michele Lustrino
Michele Lustrino
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Universita` degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, P.le A. Moro, 5, 00185 Roma, Italy
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Scott D. King
Scott D. King
Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
514
ISBN print:
9780813725147
Publication date:
October 01, 2015

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