Trace-element and isotopic constraints on the source of magmas in the active volcano and Mariana island arcs, Western Pacific

Robert James Stern, Emi Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Analytical results of the relative and absolute abundance of LIL-incompatible trace elements (K, Rb, Cs, Sr, and Ba) and isotopic compositions ( 18O 16O, 87Sr 86Sr, and 143Nd 144Nd) are summarized for fresh samples from active and dormant volcanoes of the Volcano and Mariana island arcs. The presence of thickened oceanic crust (T ∼ 15-20 km) beneath the arc indicates that while hybridization processes resulting in the modification of primitive magmas by anatectic mixing at shallow crustal levels cannot be neglected, the extent and effects of these processes on this arc's magmas are minimized. All components of the subducted plate disappear at the trench. This observation is used to reconstruct the composition of the crust in the Wadati-Benioff zone by estimating proportions of various lithologies in the crust of the subducted plate coupled with analyses from DSDP sites. Over 90% of the mass of the subducted crust consists of basaltic Layers II and III. Sediments and seamounts, containing the bulk of the incompatible elements, make up the rest. Bulk Western Pacific seafloor has 87Sr 86Sr ∼ 0.7032, δ 18O ∼ +7.2, K/Rb ∼ 510, K/Ba ∼ 46, and K/Cs ∼ 13,500. Consideration of trace-element data and combined δ 18O - 87Sr 86Sr systematics limits the participation of sediments in magmagenesis to less than 1%, in accord with the earlier results of Pb-isotopic studies. Combined 143Nd 144Nd - 87Sr 86Sr data indicate little, if any, involvement of altered basaltic seafloor in magmagenesis. Perhaps more important than mean isotopic and LIL-element ratios is the restricted range for lavas from along over 1000 km of this arc. Mixtures of mantle with either the subducted crust or derivative fluids should result in strong heterogeneities in the sources of individual volcanoes along the arc. Such heterogeneities would be due to: (1) gross variations of crustal materials supplied to the subduction zone; and (2) lesser efficiency of mixing processes accompanying induced convection between arc segments (parallel to the arc) as compared to that perpendicular to the arc. The absence of these heterogeneities indicates that either some process exists for the efficient mixing of mantle and subducted material parallel to the arc or that subducted materials play a negligible role in the generation of Mariana-Volcano arc melts. Consideration of plausible sources in the mantle indicates that (1) an unmodified MORB-like mantle cannot have generated the observed trace-element and isotopic composition of this arc's magmas, while (2) a mantle similar to that which has produced alkali-olivine basalts (AOB) of north Pacific "hot spot" chains is indistinguishable in many respects spects from the source of these arc lavas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-482
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Oct 1983


Dive into the research topics of 'Trace-element and isotopic constraints on the source of magmas in the active volcano and Mariana island arcs, Western Pacific'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this