Abstract

Subduction initiation is a key process in the operation of plate tectonics. Our understanding of melting processes and magmatic evolution during subduction initiation has largely been developed from studies of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana forearc. Many suprasubduction zone ophiolites are analogous to the Izu-Bonin-Mariana forearc sequence. However, whether there are differences between Izu-Bonin-Mariana subduction initiation sequences and suprasubduction zone ophiolites remains unclear. Here, we report field geological, geochemical, and geochronological data from mafic and felsic rocks in the Xigaze ophiolite (southern Tibet) mantle and crustal section; the same types of published data from both this ophiolite and the Izu-Bonin-Mariana forearc are compiled for comparison. The ophiolite section is intruded by various late-stage dikes, including gabbroic pegmatite, diabase, basalt, and plagiogranite. The compositions of clinopyroxene and amphibole suggest that gabbroic pegmatite formed from hydrous high-SiO2 depleted melts, while whole-rock compositions of basaltic and diabase dikes show negative Nb and Ta anomalies, suggesting flux melting of depleted mantle. Along with the mafic rocks, plagiogranite has a roughly constant content of La and Yb with increasing SiO2 contents, implying hydrous melting of mafic amphibolite. Early-stage pillow basalts exhibit geochemical affinities with Izu-Bonin-Mariana forearc basalts, but they are slightly enriched. Synthesized with the regional geological setting and compared with Izu-Bonin-Mariana forearc magmatism, we propose that the transition from mid-ocean ridge basalt–like lavas to subduction-related mafic and felsic dikes records an Early Cretaceous subduction initiation event on the southern flank of the Lhasa terrane. However, the mantle sources and the magmatic evolution in the Xigaze ophiolite are more variable than those for the Izu-Bonin-Mariana forearc.

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