Abstract

Three seamounts close to the south end of the Pratt-Welker Seamount Chain, Gulf of Alaska, have been sampled to test whether or not mantle plume-related volcanism extends south of Bowie Seamount. Lavas recovered from Oshawa, Drifters, and Graham seamounts are weathered, Mn-encrusted pillow lavas and sheet-flow fragments, commonly with glassy rims. The glasses and holocrystalline rocks are tholeiitic basalts, with light rare earth element depleted to flat primitive mantle normalized incompatible element patterns and radiogenic isotope compositions within the ranges of mid-ocean ridge and near-ridge seamount basalts from the Explorer and northern Juan de Fuca ridges. Chemically, the seamount lavas strongly resemble older, "shield-phase" tholeiitic rocks dredged from the flanks of southern Pratt-Welker seamounts, but are distinct from the younger alkaline intraplate lavas that cap Pratt-Welker edifices. The weathered, encrusted basalts were most likely erupted in a near-ridge environment, adjacent to Explorer Ridge, between 11 and 14 Ma. No evidence of plume-related activity is found in this area. Compared with northeast Pacific mid-ocean ridge and alkaline intraplate basalts, Graham seamount lavas have anomalously high 206Pb/204Pb, which does not appear to be a function of sea-floor alteration, magma contamination, or mixing between previously identified mantle components. All near-ridge seamounts in the northeast Pacific exhibit isotopic heterogeneity that does not correlate with major or trace element composition, suggesting that the mantle sources of all near-ridge seamounts have been variably depleted by prior, but recent melting events.

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