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Juvenile continental crust evolution in a modern oceanic arc setting: Petrogenesis of Cenozoic felsic plutons in Fiji, SW Pacific

February 9, 2022

Viti Levu, Fiji, provides one of the best exposed Phanerozoic analogues for the formation of juvenile continental crust in an intra-oceanic setting. Tonalites and trondhjemites are present in several large (75–150 km2) adjacent, mid-Cenozoic plutons. We report major and trace element data including rare earth element (REE) and high-precision high field strength element (HFSE) compositions, new Hf-Nd-Sr-Pb isotope data, and zircon U/Pb-ages, O-Hf isotopes, and trace elements, from five different plutons. The Eocene Yavuna pluton and the Miocene Colo plutons are mainly composed of tonalites and trondhjemites and represent the exposed middle crust of the former Vitiaz island arc. The plutons can be divided into three suites. One suite is light REE (LREE) depleted with some trace element ratios lower than average normal mid-ocean ridge basalts (N-MORB). A second suite has flat REE patterns similar to local island arc basalts. Both suites occur near the coast of Viti Levu, include a wide compositional spectrum from gabbro to tonalite, and can be produced mostly by fractional crystallization of mafic precursor melts. The third suite is characterized by LREE enrichments with higher LaN/YbN (2.3–4.9), higher Zr/Y (4.3–7.1), and lower Nb/Ta (9.6–12.4). They occur closer to the center of the island and are bimodal trondhjemite-gabbro intrusions. These characteristics are consistent with formation mostly by partial melting of mafic crust. Trace element modeling shows that the trace element ratios of the third suite can be produced by 10–20 % melting of the mafic crust in the presence of residual amphibole, resulting in the retention of the medium REE (MREE) and diagnostic trace element ratios including low Nb/Ta and high Zr/Y. Geochemical similarities of the LREE enriched suite to typical “low”-pressure Archean tonalites-trondhjemites-granodiorites (TTGs) imply a common petrogenetic origin and similar mechanisms for the generation of juvenile Archean and modern differentiated crust by partial melting of mafic crust with residual amphibole. In modern oceanic arcs, genetically unrelated felsic plutonic as well as volcanic rocks co-exist, and in this regard, the Fijian plutons accompany major tectonic disruptions to arc processes.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Juvenile continental crust evolution in a modern oceanic arc setting: Petrogenesis of Cenozoic felsic plutons in Fiji, SW Pacific
DOI 10.1016/j.gca.2021.11.033
Authors Chris S. Marien, Elizabeth Kathleen Drewes, Allen Stork, Erin Todd, James B Gill, J. Elis Hoffman, Kenichiro Tani, Charlotte M. Allen, Carsten Münker
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Index ID 70232643
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Geology Minerals