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The contribution of the young Cretaceous Caribbean Oceanic Plateau to the genesis of late Cretaceous arc magmatism in the Cordillera Occidental of Ecuador

Abstract : The eastern part of the Cordillera Occidental of Ecuador comprises thick buoyant oceanic plateaus associated with island-arc tholeiites and subduction-related calc-alkaline series, accreted to the Ecuadorian Continental Margin from Late Cretaceous to Eocene times. One of these plateau sequences, the Guaranda Oceanic Plateau is considered as remnant of the Caribbean–Colombian Oceanic Province (CCOP) accreted to the Ecuadorian Margin in the Maastrichtien. Samples studied in this paper were taken from four cross-sections through two arc-sequences in the northern part of the Cordillera Occidental of Ecuador, dated as (Río Cala) or ascribed to (Macuchi) the Late Cretaceous and one arc-like sequence in the Chogòn-Colonche Cordillera (Las Orquídeas). These three island-arcs can clearly be identified and rest conformably on the CCOP. In all four localities, basalts with abundant large clinopyroxene phenocrysts can be found, mimicking a picritic or ankaramitic facies. This mineralogical particularity, although not uncommon in island arc lavas, hints at a contribution of the CCOP in the genesis of these island arc rocks. The complete petrological and geochemical study of these rocks reveals that some have a primitive island-arc nature (MgO values range from 6 to 11 wt.%). Studied samples display marked Nb, Ta and Ti negative anomalies relative to the adjacent elements in the spidergrams characteristic of subduction-related magmatism. These rocks are LREE-enriched and their clinopyroxenes show a tholeiitic affinity (FeOT–TiO2 enrichment and CaO depletion from core to rim within a single crystal). The four sampled cross-sections through the island-arc sequences display homogeneous initial Nd, and Pb isotope ratios that suggest a unique mantellic source for these rocks resulting from the mixing of three components: an East-Pacific MORB end-member, an enriched pelagic sediment component, and a HIMU component carried by the CCOP. Indeed, the ankaramite and Mg-basalt sequences that form part of the Caribbean-Colombian Oceanic Plateau are radiogenically enriched in 206Pb/204Pb and 207Pb/204Pb and contain a HIMU component similar to that observed in the Gorgona basalts and Galápagos lavas. The subduction zone that generated the Late Cretaceous arcs occurred far from the continental margin, in an oceanic environment. This implies that no terrigenous detrital sediments interacted with the source at this period. Thus, the enriched component can only result from the melting of subducted pelagic sediments. We have thus defined the East-Pacific MORB, enriched (cherts, pelagic sediments) and HIMU components in an attempt to constrain and model the genesis of the studied island-arc magmatism, using a compilation of carefully selected isotopic data from literature according to rock age and paleogeographic location at the time of arc edification. Tripolar mixing models reveal that proportions of 12–15 wt.% of the HIMU component, 7–15 wt.% of the pelagic sediment end-member and 70–75 wt.% of an East-pacific MORB end-member are needed to explain the measured isotope ratios. These surprisingly high proportions of the HIMU/CCOP component could be explained by the young age of the oceanic plateau (5–15 Ma) during the Late Cretaceous arc emplacement. The CCOP, basement of these arc sequences, was probably still hot and easily assimilated at the island-arc lava source.
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Submitted on : Friday, January 16, 2009 - 10:40:34 AM
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James Allibon, Philippe Montjoie, Henriette Lapierre, Etienne Jaillard, F. Bussy, et al.. The contribution of the young Cretaceous Caribbean Oceanic Plateau to the genesis of late Cretaceous arc magmatism in the Cordillera Occidental of Ecuador. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, Elsevier, 2008, 26 (4), pp.355-368. ⟨10.1016/j.jsames.2008.06.003⟩. ⟨insu-00353692⟩



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