Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands: Volcanology (Chapter 3.1a)

The voluminous continental margin volcanic arc of the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the major tectonic features of West Antarctica. It extends from the Trinity Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands in the north to Alexander Island and Palmer Land in the south, a distance of c. 1300 km, and was related to east-directed subduction beneath the continental margin. Thicknesses of exposed volcanic rocks are up to c. 1.5 km, and the terrain is highly dissected by erosion and heavily glacierized. The arc was active from Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous times until the Early Miocene, a period of climate cooling from subtropical to glacial. The migration of the volcanic axis was towards the trench over time along most of the length of the arc. Early volcanism was commonly submarine but most of the volcanism was subaerial. Basaltic–andesitic stratocones and large silicic composite volcanoes with calderas can be identified. Other rock associations include volcaniclastic fans, distal tuff accumulations, coastal wetlands and glacio-marine eruptions. Other groups of volcanic rocks of Jurassic age in Alexander Island comprise accreted oceanic basalts within an accretionary complex and volcanic rocks erupted within a rift basin along the continental margin that apparently predate subduction.


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Authors: Leat, Philip T., Riley, Teal R. ORCIDORCID record for Teal R. Riley

Editors: Smellie, J.L., Panter, K.S., Geyer, A.

On this site: Philip Leat, Teal Riley
9 June, 2021
In: Smellie, J.L., Panter, K.S., Geyer, A. (eds.). Volcanism in Antarctica: 200 million years of subduction, rifting and continental break-up, London, Geological Society of London, 185-212.
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