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Title: Geochemical and geochronological records of tectonic changes along a flat-slab arc-transform junction: Circa 30 Ma to ca. 19 Ma Sonya Creek volcanic field, Wrangell Arc, Alaska
The Sonya Creek volcanic field (SCVF) contains the oldest in situ volcanic products in the ca. 30 Ma–modern Wrangell Arc (WA) in south-central Alaska, which commenced due to Yakutat microplate subduction initiation. The WA occurs within a transition zone between Aleutian subduction to the west and dextral strike-slip tectonics along the Queen Charlotte–Fairweather and Denali–Duke River fault systems to the east. New 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of bedrock shows that SCVF magmatism occurred from ca. 30–19 Ma. New field mapping, physical volcanology, and major- and trace-element geochemistry, coupled with the 40Ar/39Ar ages and prior reconnaissance work, allows for the reconstruction of SCVF magmatic evolution. Initial SCVF magmatism that commenced at ca. 30 Ma records hydrous, subduction-related, calc-alkaline magmatism and also an adakite-like component that we interpret to represent slab-edge melting of the Yakutat slab. A minor westward shift of volcanism within the SCVF at ca. 25 Ma was accompanied by continued subduction-related magmatism without the adakite-like component (i.e., mantle-wedge melting), represented by ca. 25–20 Ma basaltic-andesite to dacite domes and associated diorites. These eruptions were coeval with another westward shift to anhydrous, transitional-tholeiitic, basaltic-andesite to rhyolite lavas and tuffs of the ca. 23–19 Ma Sonya Creek shield volcano; we attribute these eruptions more » to intra-arc extension. SCVF activity was also marked by a small southward shift in volcanism at ca. 21 Ma, characterized by hydrous calc-alkaline lavas. SCVF geochemical compositions closely overlap those from the <13 Ma WA, and no alkaline lavas that characterize the ca. 18–10 Ma eastern Wrangell volcanic belt exposed in Yukon Territory are observed. Calc-alkaline, transitional-tholeiitic, and adakite-like SCVF volcanism from ca. 30–19 Ma reflects subduction of oceanic lithosphere of the Yakutat microplate beneath North America. We suggest that the increase in magmatic flux and adakitic eruptions at ca. 25 Ma, align with a recently documented change in Pacific plate direction and velocity at this time and regional deformation events in southern Alaska. By ca. 18 Ma, SCVF activity ceased, and the locus of WA magmatism shifted to the south and east. The change in relative plate motions would be expected to transfer stress to strike-slip faults above the inboard margin of the subducting Yakutat slab, a scenario consistent with increased transtensional-related melting recorded by the ca. 23–19 Ma transitional-tholeiitic Sonya Creek shield volcano between the Denali and Totschunda faults. Moreover, we infer the Totschunda fault accommodated more than ~85 km of horizontal offset since ca. 18 Ma, based on reconstructing the initial alignment of the early WA (i.e., 30–18 Ma SCVF) and temporally and chemically similar intrusions that crop out to the west on the opposite side of the Totschunda fault. Our results from the SCVF quantify spatial-temporal changes in deformation and magmatism that may typify arc-transform junctions over similar time scales (>10 m.y.). « less
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A portion of the igneous succession consists of low-Ti basalts, which are unusual because they appear in the Etendeka flood basalts but have not been previously found on Walvis Ridge. Two holes were drilled at Site U1576 on the west flank of Valdivia Bank. The first hole was terminated because a bit jammed shortly after penetrating igneous basement. Hole U1576A recovered a remarkable ~380 m thick sedimentary section consisting mostly of chalk covering a nearly complete sequence from Paleocene to Late Cretaceous (Campanian). These sediments display short and long cyclic color changes that imply astronomically forced and longer term paleoenvironmental changes. The igneous basement yielded 11 submarine lava units ranging from pillows to massive flows, which have compositions varying from tholeiitic basalt to basaltic andesite, the first occurrence of this composition recovered from the TGW track. These units are separated by seven sedimentary chalk units that range in thickness from 0.1 to 11.6 m, implying a long-term interplay of sedimentation and lava eruptions. Coring at Site U1577, on the extreme eastern flank of Valdivia Bank, penetrated a 154 m thick sedimentary section, the bottom ~108 m of which is Maastrichtian–Campanian (possibly Santonian) chalk with vitric tephra layers. Igneous basement coring progressed only 39.1 m below the sediment-basalt contact, recovering three massive submarine tholeiite basalt lava flows that are 4.1, 15.5, and >19.1 m thick, respectively. Paleomagnetic data from Sites U1577 and U1576 indicate that their volcanic basements formed just before the end of the Cretaceous Normal Superchron and during Chron 33r, shortly afterward, respectively. Biostratigraphic and paleomagnetic data suggest an east–west age progression across Valdivia Bank, becoming younger westward. Site U1578, located on a Center track guyot, provided a long and varied igneous section. After coring through 184.3 m of pelagic carbonate sediments mainly consisting of Eocene and Paleocene chalk, Hole U1578A cored 302.1 m of igneous basement. Basement lavas are largely pillows but are interspersed with sheet and massive flows. Lava compositions are mostly alkalic basalts with some hawaiite. Several intervals contain abundant olivine, and some of the pillow stacks consist of basalt with remarkably high Ti content. The igneous sequence is interrupted by 10 sedimentary interbeds consisting of chalk and volcaniclastics and ranging in thickness from 0.46 to 10.19 m. Paleomagnetic data display a change in basement magnetic polarity ~100 m above the base of the hole. Combining magnetic stratigraphy with biostratigraphic data, the igneous section is inferred to span >1 My. Abundant glass from pillow lava margins was recovered at Sites U1575, U1576, and U1578. Although the igneous penetration was only two-thirds of the planned amount, drilling during Expedition 391 obtained samples that clearly will lead to a deeper understanding of the evolution of the Tristan-Gough hotspot and its track. Relatively fresh basalts with good recovery will provide ample samples for geochemical, geochronologic, and paleomagnetic studies. Good recovery of Late Cretaceous and early Cenozoic chalk successions provides samples for paleoenvironmental study.« less