Cretaceous lower crust of the continental margins of the northern pacific: Petrological and geochronological data on lower to middle crustal xenoliths

V.V. Akinin, A.V. Andronikov, S.B. Mukasa, E.L. Miller

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Despite the exposures of Precambrian and Paleozoic rocks and the accretionary tectonic history of the northern Pacific (northeastern Asia, Alaska, and Kamchatka), it is likely that a considerable portion of the lower crust of the continental margins is much younger and was generated by Cretaceous postaccretion magmatic events. Data on xenoliths suggest that Late Cretaceous and Paleocene mafic intrusions and cumulates of calc-alkaline magmas may become more important with increasing depth. This conclusion is based on the petrological and geochronological investigation of lower-middle crustal xenoliths borne by mantlederived alkali basalt lavas and U-Pb dating of zircon cores from the igneous rocks of the region. We studied deep mafic xenoliths of granulites and gabbroids (accounting for <2% of the general xenolith population) from the Late Neogene alkali basalt lavas of the Enmelen and Viliga volcanic fields (Russia) and the Imuruk volcanic field in the Seward Peninsula, St. Lawrence Island, and Nunivak Island (Alaska). Depleted MORB-like varieties and relatively enriched in radiogenic isotopes and LREE rocks were distinguished among plagioclase-bearing xenoliths. The most representative collection of Enmelen xenoliths was subdivided into three groups: LREE enriched charnockitoids and mafic melts, pyroxene-plagioclase cumulates with a positive Eu anomaly, and LREE depleted garnet gabbroids. Mineral thermobarometry and calculated seismic velocities (P = 5-12 kbar, T = 740-1100°C, and Vp = 7. 1 ± 0. 3 km/s) suggest that the xenoliths were transported from the lower and middle crust, and the rocks show evidence for their formation through the magmatic fractionation of calc-alkaline magmas and subsequent granulite-facies metamorphism. The U-Pb age of zircon from the xenoliths ranges from the Cretaceous to Paleocene, clustering mainly within 107-56 Ma (147 crystals from 17 samples were dated). The zircon dates were interpreted as reflecting the magmatic and metamorphic stages of the growth and modification of the regional crust. The distribution of the obtained age estimates corresponds to the main magmatic pulses in two largest magmatic belts of the region, Okhotsk-Chukchi and Anadyr-Bristol. The absence of older inherited domains in zircons from both the xenoliths and igneous rocks of the regions is a strong argument in favor of the idea on the injection of juvenile material and underplating of calc-alkaline magmas in the lower crust during that time interval. This conclusion is supported by isotope geochemical data: the Sr, Nd, and Pb isotope ratios of the rocks and xenolith minerals show mantle signatures (87Sr/86Sr = 0. 7040-0. 70463, 143Nd/144Nd = 0. 51252-0. 51289, 206Pb/204Pb = 18. 32-18. 69) corresponding to an OIB source and are in general similar to those of the Cretaceous calc-alkaline basalts and andesites from continental-margin suprasubduction volcanoplutonic belts. Xenoliths from Nunivak Island and Cape Navarin show more depleted (MORB-like) geochemical and isotopic characteristics, which indicates variations in the composition of the lower crust near the southern boundary of the Bering Sea shelf. © 2013 Pleiades Publishing, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-65
Number of pages38
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

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Export Date: 3 November 2016


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