The Relationships of Plate Triple-junction Evolution, Trench-Arc Lengthening, Boninite Generation, and SSZ Spreading Centers to Ophiolite Formation, High-Temperature Soles, and Obduction

Friday, 19 December 2014: 8:15 AM
John Casey, University of Houston, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Houston, TX, United States and John F. Dewey, Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Davis, Davis, United States
A review of modern-day island arcs, the locations of boninite eruptions, the conditions necessary for hot upper plate spreading, potential regions of shallow SSZ flux melting, and formation of high-temperature metamorphic soles along the subduction channels indicates that many future, recent and ancient large slab ophiolite obduction events can be related to triple junctions that link SSZ spreading centers with trenches. These subduction systems leading to large slab ophiolite obduction events typically face stable continental margins. Boninitic melt generation requires hydrous melting of refractory mantle peridotite under an extremely high-temperature and low-pressure condition. This condition is generally explained by the addition of slab-derived fluids into a hot young oceanic mantle asthenosphere and lithosphere, which previously likely experienced melt extraction. Metamorphic conditions associated with metamorphic soles formation likewise require a hot upper plate lithosphere that, based on sole protolith, geochronologic and thermochronologic data, rapidly heats and then refrigerates and decompresses MORB-OIB type subcreted lithosphere. Numerous examples of present-day and recent SSZ spreading centers that link with two trenches or a trench and transform are considered ideal sites for ophiolite and boninite generation. The SZZ fore-arc spreading centers that link to the trench lines and triple junctions at the front of the arc may also continue towards the arc and back arc, creating no distinction between fore-arc and back-arc spreading episodes or to the transform-linked spreading centers from fore-arc to back arc. These SSZ spreading centers, which may be transiently produced during arc evolution over short or protracted time periods, act to open gaps in the arc massif and lengthen the trench, fore-arc and the arc crustal massif. They lead to an evolving arc magmatic front that begins in the infant fore-arc where ophiolite generation occurs at, near or in the trench, followed then by migration to sites distal from the trench line where a new arc massif is established on newly created oceanic lithosphere. Modern and ancient analogues of these setting are reviewed.