Abstract

During Cretaceous and Tertiary time a series of oceanic terranes were accreted onto the Pacific continental margin of Colombia. The island of Gorgona is thought to represent part of the most recent, early Eocene, terrane-forming event. Gorgona is remarkable for the occurrence of komatiites of middle Cretaceous age, having MgO contents up to 24%. The geochemistry of spatially and temporally associated tholeiites suggests that Gorgona is an obducted fragment of the oceanic Caribbean Plateau, postulated by Duncan and Hargraves (1984) to have formed at 100 to 75 Ma over the Galapagos hotspot. Further examples of high-MgO oceanic lavas that may represent fragments of the Caribbean Plateau occur in allochthonous terranes on the island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles and in the Romeral zone ophiolites in the southwestern Colombian Andes. These and other examples suggest that the formation of high-MgO liquids may be a feature of oceanic-plateau settings. The association of Phanerozoic komatiites with oceanic plateaus, coupled with thermal considerations, provides a plausible analogue for the origin of some komatiite-tholeiite sequences in Archean greenstone belts.

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