Abstract

New field mapping and an integrated trace element and Nd isotopic study have been undertaken on the Jurassic-Cretaceous Larsen Harbour Complex on the island of South Georgia, recognized as a displaced part of the southern Andes ensialic, autochthonous Rocas Verdes marginal basin. Five basalt groups (Groups I-V) are identified from trace element data; initial Nd isotopic compositions suggest that they are derived from only two sources. Magmas produced during early stages of continental lithospheric attenuation (Groups I-III) were derived by varying degrees of partial melting and fractional crystallization from a large ion lithophile element (LILE)-enriched, low-ϵNd mantle source relative to normal (N)-type mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB). Magmas produced during later stages of rifting (Groups IV and V) were, however, derived from a high-ϵNd asthenospheric mantle source similar to N-type MORB, unaffected by earlier LILE enrichment. Our data do not concur with previous suggestions that the Larsen Harbour Complex and, by implication, the Rocas Verdes formed in a supra-subduction-zone setting. On the basis of geologic and geochemical evidence, we favor basin formation along an oblique-slip margin akin to that of the Gulf of California.

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