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The association of Hawaiian-Emperor volcanism with a large-scale central Pacific anisotropy anomaly at ~150 km depth can be explained by tapping of shallow melt sources in a perisphere/LLAMA (layer of lateral advection of mass and anisotropy) model. The origin of the anisotropy anomaly can be traced to the formation of a phlogopite-garnet-pyroxenite assemblage in the perisphere beneath an island arc on the Stikine terrane of the North American Cordillera in the Carboniferous. The pyroxenites were formed when subduction-related melts invaded the mantle wedge at ~150–200 km depth. The enriched region inherited the thermal profile of the mantle wedge, along with a solar-like noble gas isotopic composition from earlier fluxing of hydrothermal fluids between interplanetary dust particle–bearing deep-sea sediments and ultramafic layers of the oceanic crust prior to subduction. After termination of subduction, the enriched perisphere was displaced to the northeast beneath the Farallon plate, and then to the northwest beneath the Izanagi and Pacific plates, eventually becoming distorted into the shape of the present-day central Pacific anisotropy anomaly. During the thermal equilibration time, estimated at ~170 m.y., the phlogopite-garnet-pyroxenite assemblage followed a horizontal trajectory in pressure-temperature (P-T) space. As the P-T path crossed the solidi for volatile-bearing pyroxenite compositions, diabatic partial melting generated carbonatitic to alkaline melts which began to ascend and metasomatize shallower levels of the perisphere, carrying with them the geochemical signature of the original pyroxenites. The present central Pacific anisotropy anomaly is the current manifestation of the metasomatized domain. The latter was tapped from the Late Cretaceous to the present, by propagating fractures induced by large-scale plate reorganizations in the northwest of the Pacific Basin, to produce the Hawaiian-Emperor volcanic chain.

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