The LIP-OIB transitional phase in the Galapagos mantle plume
Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 3:25 PM
Although significant work has been done on LIPS and OIB, no complete record of the evolution of a mantle plume is available at this point. Galapagos-related lavas provide a complete record of the evolution of a mantle plume since the plume's initial stages in the Cretaceous. Our petrological models (PRIMELT2) suggest that the Galapagos plume head that formed the Caribbean Large Igneous Province (CLIP) at ~95 Ma melted at hotter temperatures than the ocean island basalt (OIB) equivalents of the modern archipelago. While this work suggests a significant decrease in mantle potential temperatures (Tp) over time, the exact mechanism responsible for secular cooling of the Galapagos plume remains unclear. One viable explanation is that plumes entraining recycled oceanic crust (pyroxenite) will be cooler than purely peridotite plumes, due to the effect of dense pyroxenite on the plume’s buoyancy. High-precision electron microprobe analyses on olivine cores from the ~70 Ma Galapagos-related Quepos terrane in Costa Rica indicate a mixed peridotite-pyroxenite source lithology, not evident during the LIP stage. The appearance of this pyroxenitic component correlates with the first record of an EMII isotopic signature (Northern Galapagos Domain), and significant high-field strength enrichments in the Galapagos plume related lavas. This dense pyroxenite component may explain the marked decrease in Tp observed at ~70 Ma due to its effect on the plume’s buoyancy. Otherwise, the pyroxenite component may have been diluted during voluminous basalt production of the CLIP by high peridotite melt fractions. Future research will incorporate further petrological modeling, olivine chemistry, and radiogenic isotope work of accreted Galapagos terranes in Central America to test whether or not a decrease in Tp correlates with increasing pyroxenite content in source melts.