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The Early Cretaceous island arc lavas in the Caribbean region are frequently assigned to the primitive island arc (PIA) series and not to the island arc tholeiite (IAT) series. However, this review demonstrates that the Caribbean PIA rocks have immobile trace element abundances, trace element ratios and Nd–Hf isotope systematics which are indistinguishable from modern IAT lavas. Thus, it is proposed that the term PIA series be discarded and that the Early Cretaceous island arc rocks in the Caribbean be classified as IAT rocks.

Supplementary material: References for data sources used in figures can be found at: http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18362.

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