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Pleistocene volcanic rocks in the Mariana Forearc revealed by drilling at Site 781

Marlow, Michael S., Johnson, Lynn E., Pearce, Julian A., Fryer, Patricia B., Pickthorn, Ledabeth G. and Murton, Bramley J. 1992. Pleistocene volcanic rocks in the Mariana Forearc revealed by drilling at Site 781. Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program Scientific Results 125 , pp. 293-310. 10.2973/

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Geophysical surveys of the Mariana forearc, in an area equidistant from the Mariana Trench and the active Mariana Island Arc, revealed a 40-m-deep graben about 13 km northwest of Conical Seamount, a serpentine mud volcano. The graben and its bounding horst blocks are part of a fault zone that strikes northwest-southeast beneath Conical Seamount. One horst block was drilled during Leg 125 of the Ocean Drilling Program (Site 781). Three lithologic units were recovered at Site 781: an upper sedimentary unit, a middle basalt unit, and a lower sedimentary unit. The upper unit, between 0 and 72 mbsf, consists of upper Pliocene to Holocene diatomaceous and radiolarian-bearing silty clay that grades down into vitric silty clay and vitric clayey silt. The middle unit is a Pleistocene vesicular, porphyritic basalt, the top of which corresponds to a high-amplitude reflection on the reflection profiles. The lower unit is a middle to upper (and possibly some lower) Pliocene vitric silty clay and vitric clayey silt similar to the lower part of the upper unit. The thickness of the basalt unit can only be estimated to be between 13 and 25 m because of poor core recovery (28% to 55%). The absence of internal flow structures and the presence of an upper glassy chilled zone and a lower, fine-grained margin suggest that the basalt unit is either a single lava flow or a near-surface sill. The basalt consists of Plagioclase phenocrysts with subordinate augite and olivine phenocrysts and of plagioclase-augite-olivine glomerocrysts in a groundmass of Plagioclase, augite, olivine, and glass. The basalt is an island arc tholeiite enriched in large-ion-lithophile elements relative to high-field-strength elements, similar to the submarine lavas of the southern arc seamounts. In contrast, volcanic rocks from the active volcanoes on Pagan and Agrigan islands, 100 km to the west of the drill site, are calc-alkaline. The basalt layer, the youngest in-situ igneous layer reported from the Izu-Bonin and Mariana forearcs, is enigmatic because of its location more than 100 km from the active volcanic arc. The sediment layers above and below the basalt unit are late Pliocene in age (about 2.5 Ma) and normally magnetized. The basalt has schlierenlike structures, reverse magnetization, and a K-Ar age of 1.68 ±0.37 Ma. Thus, the basalt layer is probably a sill fed by magma intruded along a fault zone bounding the horst and graben in the forearc. The geochemistry of the basalt is consistent with a magma source similar to that of the active island arc and from a mantle source above the subducting Pacific plate.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Ocean Drilling Program
ISSN: 1096-7451
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:04

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