Abstract

Radioisotopic dating of subaerial and submarine volcanic and plutonic rocks from the Aleutian Island Arc provides insight into the timing of arc formation in the middle Eocene. Twenty-eight 40Ar/39Ar ages constrain the duration of arc magmatism to the last 46 m.y. Basaltic lavas from the Finger Bay volcanics, the oldest exposed rocks in the arc, gave an isochron age of 37.4 ± 0.6 Ma, which is 12–17 m.y. younger than a widely cited age of 55–50 Ma. Three main pulses of arc-wide magmatism occurred at 38–29, 16–11, and 6–0 Ma, which coincide with periods of intense magmatism in other western Pacific island arcs. Using the geochronology and volumetric estimates of crust generated and eroded over the last 46 m.y., we calculate a time-averaged magma production rate for the entire arc that exceeds previous estimates by almost an order of magnitude.

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