Abstract

If the net flux to the island arc crust is primitive arc basalt, the evolved composition of most arc magmas entails the formation of complementary thick ultramafic keels at the root of the island arc crust. Dunite, wehrlite, and Cr-rich pyroxenite from the Jijal complex, constituting the Moho transition zone of the Kohistan paleo–island arc (northern Pakistan), are often mentioned as an example of high-pressure cumulates formed by intracrustal fractionation of mantle-derived melts, which were later extracted to form the overlying mafic crust. Here we show that calculated liquids for Jijal pyroxenites-wehrlites are strongly rare earth element (REE) depleted and display flat or convex-upward REE patterns. These patterns are typical of boninites and are therefore unlike those of the overlying mafic crust that have higher REE concentrations and are derived from light rare earth element (LREE)–enriched melts similar to island arc basalt. This observation, along with the lower 208Pb/204Pb and 206Pb/204Pb ratios of Jijal pyroxenites-wehrlites relative to gabbros, rejects the hypothesis that gabbros and ultramafic rocks derive from a common melt via crystal fractionation. In the 208Pb/204Pb versus 206Pb/204Pb diagram, ultramafic rocks and gabbros lie on the same positive correlation, suggesting that their sources share a common enriched mantle 2 (EM2) signature but with a major depleted component contribution for the ultramafic rocks. These data are consistent with a scenario whereby the Jijal ultramafic section represents a Moho transition zone formed via melt-rock reaction between subarc mantle and incoming melt isotopically akin to Jijal gabbroic rocks. The lack in the Kohistan arc of cogenetic ultramafic cumulates complementary to the evolved mafic plutonic rocks implies either (1) that a substantial volume of such ultramafic cumulates was delaminated or torn out by subcrustal mantle flow from the base of the arc crust in extraordinarily short time scales (0.10–0.35 cm/yr), or (2) that the net flux to the Kohistan arc crust was more evolved than primitive arc basalt.

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