Abstract

The Mesozoic LeMay Group accretionary complex of Alexander Island, Antarctica, contains thrust-bound slices of accreted ocean floor, ocean islands and seamounts. They represent fragments of proto-Pacific oceanic crust, of which only a tiny remnant (the Phoenix plate) remains off northern Antarctic Peninsula. They therefore provide an excellent opportunity to sample the ancient oceanic crust that formerly occupied the southern Pacific Ocean.

All the basalts experienced sea-floor and subduction/accretion metamorphism ranging from zeolite to transitional blueschist facies. On the basis of rare–arth and other immobile trace element characteristics, the basalts are divided into depleted MORB, N-MORB, E-MORB, and tholeiitic and alkaline OIB.

Oceanic basalts occur within two rock associations on Alexander Island, basalt-volcaniclastite-chert and basalt-volcaniclastite-tuff. The basalt-volcaniclastite-chert rock association is dominated by pillow lavas which have light REE-depleted N-MORB geochemical characteristics, and is interpreted as representing ocean floor formed at spreading centres. Locally, sills of tholeiitic OIB intrude the sequence. The basalt-volcaniclastite-tuff rock association exposed in the Lully Foothills was formed in shallow water during the Early Jurassic. It is geochemically varied, consisting of basalts with N-MORB, E-MORB and tholeiitic OIB characteristics. The association is interpreted to have been formed on a large seamount or ocean island.

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