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TitleFossil subduction zone origin for magmas in the Ferrar Large Igneous Province, Antarctica: Evidence from PGE and Os isotope systematics in the Basement Sill of the McMurdo Dry Valleys
AuthorChoi, S HORCID logo; Mukasa, S B; Ravizza, G; Fleming, T H; Marsh, B D; Bedard, J H J
SourceEarth and Planetary Science Letters vol. 506, 2019 p. 507-519, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20200182
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Subjectsgeneral geology; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; platinum; sills; igneous rocks; subduction zones; fossil zones; osmium; isotopes; Gondwanaland
Illustrationslocation maps; block diagrams; stratigraphic columns; tables; plots
Released2018 11 27
AbstractMantle plumes provide an attractive mechanism for generating short-duration, voluminous magmas in large igneous provinces (LIPS) while at the same time providing an explanation for the frequently associated break-up of supercontinents. This model has also been invoked for the Ferrar large igneous province (FLIP) in Antarctica, which zircon and baddeleyite U-Pb dating shows was emplaced over a short duration at 182.7 +/- 0.5 Ma, contemporaneously with fragmentation of the supercontinent Gondwanaland. Here, we present platinum-group-element (PGE) and Os-isotopic data for the Basement Sill in the McMurdo Dry Valleys - a part of the FLIP - that challenge the plume interpretation. The Basement Sill samples studied are cumulate-textured gabbro to norite, and pyroxenite with minor ferroor leuco-lithofacies with MgO ranging from 2 to 19 wt%. The Os-187/Os-188 values range from 0.1609 +/- 0.003 (2 sigma) to 8.100 +/- 1.600 (2 sigma); the minimum value overlaps with a previously published estimated initial Os-187/Os-188 ratio for Ferrar magmas of 0.145 +/- 0.049 (2 sigma). The PGE abundance patterns for the Basement Sill define positive, convex-shaped slopes between the IPGE (Os, Ir and Ru) and PPGE (Pt, Pd and Rh). The most significant feature of the entire data set is the extreme sub-chondritic Os/Ir ratios (<0.33), values which are atypical of plume-derived magmas. These low Os/Ir ratios are more consistent with the alternative view that FLIP resulted from the decompression melting of mantle with a fossil subduction zone signature along the proto-Pacific margin of Gondwanaland, disaggregated by rifting related to plate rearrangements during supercontinent break-up. We propose that hydrated fossil subduction zones elsewhere on Earth might account for other short-lived voluminous magmatic events that form LIPs. The remarkably short duration of these events may be due to rapid decompression of hydrated mantle allowing instantaneous large-volume melting which then peters out quickly (<1 Myr) as H2O is expelled from the source rocks and into the melt.

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