Geological evidence has demonstrated the presence of an intra−Neo-Tethyan subduction system during the Cretaceous. However, when and how this intra-oceanic subduction was initiated, especially for the eastern Neo-Tethys, are still not well constrained. Here we present geochemical and geochronological analyses of the Indawgyi mafic rocks from the Central Ophiolite Belt in the West Burma Block (Myanmar), which record early forearc spreading during the intra−Neo-Tethyan subduction initiation. Zircon U-Pb ages of gabbros indicate the ophiolitic crust formation at ca. 120 Ma. Gabbros show mid-oceanic-ridge basalt−like rare earth element patterns and depleted Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic compositions with negative anomalies of high field strength elements (e.g., Nb, Ta, Zr, and Hf), similar to forearc basalt characteristics. Basalts show more slab-derived component signatures than the gabbros and represent mantle wedge magmas most likely formed between forearc spreading and arc maturation. These data, together with regional geological records and geophysical observations, suggest that the Indawgyi gabbros were derived from an intra−Neo-Tethyan forearc setting during the early stage of subduction initiation. Considering the timing of supra-subduction zone ophiolites and metamorphic sole in the Indo-Burma Range, we propose that spontaneous subduction initiation and sinking of the eastern Neo-Tethyan lithosphere during the Early Cretaceous (ca. 120 Ma) led to formation of the Indawgyi forearc crust, whereas subsequent mature subduction resulted in the Middle Cretaceous (ca. 108‒90 Ma) arc magmatism in the West Burma Block. These findings confirm the double-subduction model of the Neo-Tethys Ocean and shed new light on the intra−Neo-Tethyan subduction initiation.
Intra−Neo-Tethyan subduction initiation inferred from the Indawgyi mafic rocks in the Central Ophiolite Belt, Myanmar
Qinghua Zhang, Yi Chen, Si Chen, Bin Su, Yibing Li, Kaihui Shi, Me M. Aung, Kyaing Sein; Intra−Neo-Tethyan subduction initiation inferred from the Indawgyi mafic rocks in the Central Ophiolite Belt, Myanmar. GSA Bulletin 2023; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B37076.1
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