Geochemical data on mafic volcanics show that important affinities exist between the Roman and the calc-alkaline rocks from the Aeolian arc (south Tyrrhenian Sea). These affinities, together with the close association of calc-alkaline and K-rich volcanics in the Aeolian arc and in the Naples area, the continuity in the variation of abundances of incompatible elements from calc-alkaline to potassic suites, and the similarity in terms of major-element geochemistry, support a genetic relationship of the Roman magmatism and the subduction processes that affected the Apennines in Tertiary time and are still active under the Aeolian arc.

In the genetic model presented here, both calc-alkaline and K-rich magmas were generated within a mantle heterogeneously enriched in LIL elements. Composition of the mantle was modified by addition of material, probably sediments, dragged down by the undergoing slab.

The geochemical and petrological differences displayed by the calc-alkaline and K-rich volcanics are accounted for by the different conditions of melting as well as by chemical and isotopic heterogeneities of the source.

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