Scientific article

Late Cretaceous felsic intrusions in oceanic plateau basalts in SW Ecuador: Markers of subduction initiation?

Published inJournal of South American Earth Sciences, vol. 110, no. 103348
Publication date2021

Felsic magmatic rocks (tonalites and trondhjemites) with calc-alkaline affinity were emplaced in SW Ecuador (Pascuales area; North Guayaquil) at ~87–89 Ma intruding the top of the basalts of the Caribean Large Igneous Province (CLIP), prior to the development of typical well-known island arcs from ~85 to 80 Ma onwards. A clear depletion of REE distinguishes the Pascuales felsic rocks from the more differentiated lavas of the Rio Cala Arc in Ecuador and from other Late Cretaceous arc-like felsic intrusives emplaced within the CLIP in Colombia and the Antilles. In addition, the Pascuales tonalites have very low K2O (<0.4 wt%), TiO2 (<0.4 wt%) and P2O5 (<0.15 wt%) contents compared to dacitic rocks of the Rio Cala Arc. In contrast, their geochemistry and their similar age suggest that the Pascuales tonalites are an equivalent of the Las Orquideas dacitic volcanic rocks. The Pascuales felsic rocks have the less radiogenic Nd compositions of the whole spectrum of Ecuadorian oceanic plateau rocks, nevertheless shearing similarities with some Totoras amphibolites. The geochemical characteristics of the Pascuales intrusives and Las Orquideas dacites are similar to those formed by hydrous partial melting of mafic protoliths. The dacitic magmas must have been in equilibrium with residual mineral assemblages largely dominated by amphibole + Fe–Ti oxides (no garnet). This requires two conditions: 1) low-pressure melting under high water content and 2) a source rock extremely depleted in minor incompatible elements (K, Ti, P, Y) and REE. These conditions are fulfilled by partial melting of mafic-ultramafic cumulates undergoing high temperature and shear deformation at the base of the oceanic plateau triggered by new basaltic intrusions. The Pascuales felsic rocks emplaced at the SW border of the oceanic plateau during its final stage of building; they can thus be related to asthenopheric upwelling during the initial stage of island arc magmatism.

  • Caribbean oceanic plateau
  • Tonalite
  • Subduction initiation
  • SW Ecuador
Citation (ISO format)
SEYLER, M. et al. Late Cretaceous felsic intrusions in oceanic plateau basalts in SW Ecuador: Markers of subduction initiation? In: Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 2021, vol. 110, n° 103348. doi: 10.1016/j.jsames.2021.103348
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0895-9811

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