Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

The petrology, geochemistry, and geochronology of hotspot seamounts in the North Pacific and arc/backarc volcanism on the northern Antarctic Peninsula

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  • Volcanic rocks from hotspots and island arcs/backarcs typically have enriched trace element and isotopic compositions that contain a contribution from subducted oceanic crust. Isotopic and trace element data suggest that the enriched components in hotspot volcanism are ancient subducted sediment and crust, and the enriched components in arc/backarc volcanism are hydrous fluids and melts from the subducting slab. This thesis examines the origins of these enriched components, and how they change in time and space. The Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain records over 81 million years of volcanism from the Hawaiian hotspot. Seamounts at the old (northern) end of the chain have isotopic compositions more depleted then anything previously reported from the Hawaiian hotspot. Detroit seamount (81 Ma) has the most depleted composition, and was created while an active spreading ridge was close to the hotspot. Proximity to a spreading ridge must have caused the hotspot to entrain and melt more of the depleted upper mantle. The Patton-Murray seamount platform, at the old end of the Cobb hotspot track in the Gulf of Alaska, was volcanically active at 33 Ma, 27 Ma, and 17 Ma. The 33 Ma tholeiitic phase and 27 Ma alkalic phase are related to passage over the hotspot. The 17 Ma phase erupted too late to be directly related to the hotspot, but may have been caused by minor extension along a zone of weakness originally created by passage over the hotspot. On the northern Antarctic Peninsula, volcanism occurred above a subducting slab up to 360 km from the South Shetland Trench. Volcanism on the South Shetland Arc has enriched trace element and isotopic compositions that can be modeled by mixing of subducted sediments and depleted mantle. Backarc basin volcanism in Bransfield Strait contains less of the subducted component, and the most depleted samples are distinguishable from MORB only by their slightly elevated Cs and Pb concentrations. Extreme-backarc volcanism on James Ross Island (360 km from the trench) shows no evidence for the subducted component in its trace element compositions, but its Pb isotopic ratios are affected by Pb from subducted sediment.
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