Abstract

Significant uncertainty remains regarding the exact timing and nature of subduction events during the closure of the Tethyan seas in what is now NW Iran. This study thus presents new geochemical compositions and U–Pb ages for a suite of volcanic rocks emplaced during Cenozoic volcanism in the west Alborz Magmatic Assemblage, which is commonly regarded as the back-arc of the Neotethyan magmatism in Central Iran. The subalkali basalts and andesites are dated to 57 ± 1.2 Ma, and are likely derived from a supra-subduction mantle wedge. Later, trachytic A-type rocks erupted from ∼42 to 25 Ma during an anorogenic (extensional) stage triggered by slab retreat and associated asthenospheric mantle influx. A-type melts were at least partly concurrent with lithospheric mantle magmatism implied by eruption of subalkali basalts–andesites around 26–24 Ma. Next, Amp-Bt trachybasaltic volcanism with high-Nb basaltic affinity at ∼19 Ma likely records slab deepening and slab partial melting, which reacted with the mantle wedge to produce the source material for the high-Nb basalts. Sr–Nd isotopic ratios for SE Ahar mafic as well as A-type rocks imply rather enriched mantle source(s). Some crustal contamination is implied by the presence of inherited zircons dominated by those derived from Neoproterozoic–Cambrian basement rocks and Carboniferous magmatism. Rhyolitic rocks with adakitic affinity probably mark the final volcanism in the study area. The adakitic rocks show crustal signatures such as high K and Th, probably formed as a consequence of higher temperature gradients, at crustal levels, imposed by both slab and mantle partial melts.

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