Abstract

Spatial geochemical variations of Quaternary lavas erupted along the northern segment of the Kamchatka arc are used to trace changes in magma generation across the subducting Pacific slab edge. The late Pleistocene–Holocene lavas of the northern end of the Central Kamchatka depression north of the Pacific slab edge show strong enrichment in high field strength elements and light rare earth elements, relatively unradiogenic strontium and lead but radiogenic neodymium isotope ratios, and oxygen isotope compositions similar to those of mid-oceanic-ridge basalts. These geochemical characteristics are distinct from the southern Central Kamchatka depression volcanoes located above the subducting Pacific slab. Extensive fluid-triggered mantle melting dominates magma genesis beneath the largest Kamchatka volcanoes in the south, whereas low-degree decompression melting of the Pacific asthenospheric mantle is the major magma generation process north of the Pacific slab edge. Quaternary detachment of the subducted Pacific plate fragment resulted in the influx of fertile mantle beneath Kamchatka. We propose that upwelling and southward flow of this hotter, more fertile mantle is the main reason for recent magmatism in northern Kamchatka and for the exceptional productivity of the Central Kamchatka depression volcanoes (Klyuchevskoy and Sheveluch), the most active arc volcanoes on Earth.

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