Geological Society of London
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Uniform processes of melt differentiation in the central Izu Bonin volcanic arc (NW Pacific)

posted on 2016-06-21, 12:12 authored by Susanne M. Straub

The intra-oceanic Izu Bonin arc (NW Pacific) has produced a bimodal spectrum of melts with maxima in the basaltic andesitic (c. 53–54 wt% SiO2) and rhyolitic range (c. 70–72 wt% SiO2) since arc inception c. 48–49 million years ago. Composition of phenocrysts and accessory minerals from 21 contemporaneous fallout tephras from ODP Site 782A confirm the bimodality and uniformity of the erupted melts. The basaltic andesite melts equilibrated with calcic plagioclase (c. An70–95), high-Mg# clino- and orthopyroxene and low-Ti titanomagnetite. Dacitic and rhyolitic melts crystallized sodic plagioclase (c. An40–60), low-Mg# clino- and orthopyroxene, apatite, Ti-rich titanomagnetite in addition to occasional ilmenite and amphibole. The Izu melts are inferred to crystallize at oxygen fugacities between c. 0 to +2.5 log10 units relative to FMQ, at temperatures between c. 775° and 1100 °C and at pressures between c. 300 and c. 1100 MPa, corresponding to c. 5–35 km lithospheric depth. The compositional uniformity of the tephra layers, which are spaced on average 230 ± 380 ka apart, suggest uniform processes of differentiation since at least c. 42 Ma ago. The tephra record shows no indication of periodic or progressive crustal growth that might correlate with the alternate periods of arc formation, arc rifting or backarc spreading, or would suggest an increasingly efficient ‘crustal filter’ with time. The tephra data tentatively conform to a model where crust grows steadily through intrusions of mafic and evolved melt body batches whereby buoyancy controls the level of solidification. While the tephra compositions demonstrate the uniformity of the processes of melt formation and differentiation through time, the data do not permit the differentiation processes themselves to be constrained. These may comprise fractional crystallization, crustal fusion, fusion of non-peridotitic sub-crustal lithologies, or any combination of these processes.