Geochemistry of Palaeozoic–Mesozoic Pacific rim orogenic magmatism, Thurston Island area, West Antarctica

Thurston Island, and the adjacent Eights Coast and Jones Mountains, record Pacific margin magmatism from Carboniferous to Late Cretaceous times. The igneous rocks form a uniformly calc-alkaline, high-alumina, dominantly metaluminous suite; some relatively fractionated granitoids are mildly peraluminous. The magmas were hydrous, a result of subduction. Gabbros have compositions outside the range of mafic volcanic and hypabyssal rocks, as a result of cumulate processes. Trace element compositions of the mafic magmas range from a low La/Yb, Th/Ta end-member close to E-MORB in composition, perhaps contaminated by crust, to a high La/Yb, Th/Ta end-member, close to shoshonite, with strong magmatic arc trace element character. This variation may be a result of mixing of tholeiitic and shoshonitic end-members. Most silicic rocks could have been generated batch-wise from mafic magmas by fractional crystallization of a phenocryst assemblage dominated by plagioclase, pyroxene ± amphibole, as seen in the cumulates. Cessation of magmatism at about 90 Ma approximately coincided with collison of a spreading centre between the Phoenix and Pacific oceanic plates with the continent margin subduction zone. The rifting of New Zealand from West Antarctica and associated extension probably was responsible for emplacement of a coast-parallel Cretaceous dyke swarm.


Publication status:
Authors: Leat, Philip T., Storey, Bryan C., Pankhurst, Robert J.

On this site: Philip Leat
1 September, 1993
Antarctic Science / 5
Link to published article: