Origins of Chemical Diversity of Back-Arc Basin Basalts: A Segment-Scale Study of the Eastern Lau Spreading Center

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Origins of Chemical Diversity of Back-Arc Basin Basalts: A Segment-Scale Study of the Eastern Lau Spreading Center

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Title: Origins of Chemical Diversity of Back-Arc Basin Basalts: A Segment-Scale Study of the Eastern Lau Spreading Center
Author: Langmuir, Charles H.; Michael, Peter J.; Asimow, Paul D.; Bézos, Antoine; Escrig, Stéphane

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Citation: Bézos, Antoine, Stéphane Escrig, Charles H. Langmuir, Peter J. Michael, and Paul D. Asimow. 2009. Origins of chemical diversity of back-arc basin basalts: A segment-scale study of the Eastern Lau Spreading Center. Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth 114:B06212.
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Abstract: We report major, trace, and volatile element data on basaltic glasses from the northernmost segment of the Eastern Lau Spreading Center (ELSC1) in the Lau back-arc basin to further test and constrain models of back-arc volcanism. The zero-age samples come from 47 precisely collected stations from an 85 km length spreading center. The chemical data covary similarly to other back-arc systems but with tighter correlations and well-developed spatial systematics. We confirm a correlation between volatile content and apparent extent of melting of the mantle source but also show that the data cannot be reproduced by the model of isobaric addition of water that has been broadly applied to back-arc basins. The new data also confirm that there is no relationship between mantle temperature and the wet melting productivity. Two distinct magmatic provinces can be identified along the ELSC1 axis, a southern province influenced by a wet component with strong affinities to arc volcanism and a northern province influenced by a damp component intermediate between enriched mid-ocean ridge basalts (E-MORB) and arc basalts. High field strength elements and rare earth elements are all mobilized to some extent by the wet component, and the detailed composition of this component is determined. It differs in significant ways from the Mariana component reported by E. Stolper and S. Newman (1994), particularly by having lower abundances of most elements relative to \(H_2O\). The differences can be explained if the slab temperature is higher for the Mariana and the source from which the fluid is derived is more enriched. The ELSC1 damp component is best explained by mixing between the wet component and an E-MORB-like component. We propose that mixing between water-rich fluids and low-degree silicate melts occurs at depth in the subduction zone to generate the chemical diversity of the ELSC1 subduction components. These modified sources then rise independently to the surface and melt, and these melts mix with melts of the background mantle from the ridge melting regime to generate the linear data arrays characteristic of back-arc basalts. The major and trace element framework for ELSC1, combined with different slab temperatures and compositions for difference convergent margins, may be able to be applied to other back-arc basins around the globe.
Published Version: doi:10.1029/2008JB005924
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at
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