• Multi-stage arc magma evolution recorded by apatite in volcanic rocks

      Nathwani, Chetan; Loader, MA; Wilkinson, JJ; Buret, Y; Sievwright, RH; Hollings, P (Geological Society of America, 2020-01-17)
      Protracted magma storage in the deep crust is a key stage in the formation of evolved, hydrous arc magmas that can result in explosive volcanism and the formation of economically valuable magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits. High magmatic water content in the deep crust results in extensive amphibole ± garnet fractionation and the suppression of plagioclase crystallization as recorded by elevated Sr/Y ratios and high Eu (high Eu/Eu*) in the melt. Here, we use a novel approach to track the petrogenesis of arc magmas using apatite trace element chemistry in volcanic formations from the Cenozoic arc of central Chile. These rocks formed in a magmatic cycle that culminated in high-Sr/Y magmatism and porphyry ore deposit formation in the Miocene. We use Sr/Y, Eu/Eu*, and Mg in apatite to track discrete stages of arc magma evolution. We apply fractional crystallization modeling to show that early-crystallizing apatite can inherit a high-Sr/Y and high-Eu/Eu* melt chemistry signature that is predetermined by amphibole-dominated fractional crystallization in the lower crust. Our modeling shows that crystallization of the in situ host-rock mineral assemblage in the shallow crust causes competition for trace elements in the melt that leads to apatite compositions diverging from bulk-magma chemistry. Understanding this decoupling behavior is important for the use of apatite as an indicator of metallogenic fertility in arcs and for interpretation of provenance in detrital studies.
    • Re-Os dating of pyrite confirms an early diagenetic onset and extended duration of mineralization in the Irish Zn-Pb ore field

      Hnatyshin, D; Creaser, RA; Wilkinson, JJ; Gleeson, SA (2015-02-01)
      The Irish Midlands region contains one of the world’s largest hydrothermal Zn-Pb ore districts, but uncertainty exists in the timing of mineralization relative to host rock ages. Consequently, genetic models for ore formation are poorly constrained and remain controversial. Here we use Re-Os geochronology to show that ore-stage pyrite from the Lisheen deposit formed at 346.6 ± 3.0 Ma, shortly after host rock deposition. Pyrite from the Silvermines deposit returns an age of 334.0 ± 6.1 Ma, indicating that at least some mineralization occurred during later burial. These age determinations show that the much younger paleomagnetic ages reported for the Irish Zn-Pb deposits reflect remagnetization during the Variscan orogeny, a process that we suggest affects paleomagnetic dating more widely. The Re-Os ages overlap with the ages of lower Carboniferous volcanic rocks in the Midlands, which are the product of magmatism that has been invoked as the driving force for hydrothermal activity. The relatively low initial Os ratios for both Lisheen (0.253 ± 0.045) and Silvermines (0.453 ± 0.006) are compatible with derivation of Os from these magmas, or from the Caledonian basement that underlies the ore deposits.
    • The role of arc migration in the development of the Lesser Antilles: A new tectonic model for the Cenozoic evolution of the eastern Caribbean

      Allen, RW; Collier, JS; Stewart, AG; Henstock, T; Goes, S; Rietbrock, A; Wilkinson, JJ (Geological Society of America, 2019-08-12)
      Continental arc systems often show evidence of large-scale migration both toward and away from the incoming plate. In oceanic arc systems, however, while slab roll-back and the associated processes of backarc spreading and arc migration toward the incoming plate are commonplace, arc migration away from the incoming plate is rarely observed. We present a new compilation of marine magnetic anomaly and seismic data in order to propose a new tectonic model for the eastern Caribbean region that includes arc migration in both directions. We synthesized new evidence to show two phases of backarc spreading and eastward arc migration toward the incoming Atlantic. A third and final phase of arc migration to the west subdivided the earlier backarc basin on either side of the present-day Lesser Antilles arc. This is the first example of regional multidirectional arc migration in an intra-oceanic setting, and it has implications for along-arc structural and geochemical variations. The back and forth arc migrations were probably due to the constraints imposed by the neighboring American plates on this isolated subduction system, rather than variations in subducting slab buoyancy.