The migration of arc magmatism that is a fundamental aspect of plate tectonics may reflect the complex interaction between subduction zone processes and regional tectonics. Here we report new observations on volcanic migration from northwestern Sumatra, in the westernmost Sunda arc, characterized by an oblique convergent boundary between the Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates. Our study indicates that in northwestern Sumatra, volcanism ceased at 15–10 Ma on the southern coast and reignited to form a suite of active volcanoes that erupt exclusively to the north of the trench-parallel Sumatran fault. Younger volcanic rocks from the north are markedly more enriched in K2O and other highly incompatible elements, delineating a geochemical variation over space and time similar to that in Java and reflecting an increase in the Benioff zone depth. We relate this mid-Miocene volcanic migration in northwestern Sumatra to the far-field effect of propagating extrusion tectonics driven by the India-Eurasia collision. The extrusion caused regional deformation southward through Myanmar to northwestern Sumatra and thus transformed the oblique subduction into a dextral motion–governed plate boundary. This tectonic transformation, associated with opening of the Andaman Sea, is suggested to be responsible for the volcanic migration in northwestern Sumatra.

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