Abstract

The East Sulawesi ophiolite is one of the three largest ophiolites in the world. It displays all the components of a typical sequence, from residual mantle peridotites to cumulate gabbros, sheeted dolerites, and lavas of normal mid-oceanic-ridge basalt (MORB) composition. Trace element data on the lavas and dolerites, and particularly their depletion in Nb compared to neighboring incompatible elements, suggest a subduction-zone environment for their origin. The chemical similarity between the East Sulawesi ophiolite lavas and those from the Eocene Celebes Sea back-arc basin crust together with their identical age strongly suggest a back-arc tectonic environment for this ophiolite, which represents a fragment of the Eurasian plate obducted onto the East Sulawesi basement of Australian origin.

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