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Mantle plume or slab window?: physical and geochemical constraints on the origin of the Caribbean oceanic plateau

Hastie, Alan Robert and Kerr, Andrew Craig ORCID: 2010. Mantle plume or slab window?: physical and geochemical constraints on the origin of the Caribbean oceanic plateau. Earth-Science Reviews 98 (3-4) , pp. 283-293. 10.1016/j.earscirev.2009.11.001

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The Caribbean oceanic plateau formed in the Pacific realm when it erupted onto the Farallon plate from the Galapagos hotspot at ∼ 90 Ma. The plateau was subsequently transported to the northeast and collided with the Great Arc of the Caribbean thus initiating subduction polarity reversal and the consequent tectonic emplacement of the Caribbean plate between the North and South American continents. The plateau represents a large outpouring of mafic volcanism, which has been interpreted as having formed by melting of a hot mantle plume. Conversely, some have suggested that a slab window could be involved in forming the plateau. However, the source regions of oceanic plateaus are distinct from N-MORB (the likely source composition for slab window mafic rocks). Furthermore, melt modelling using primitive (high MgO) Caribbean oceanic plateau lavas from Curaçao, shows that the primary magmas of the plateau contained ∼ 20 wt.% MgO and were derived from 30 to 32% partial melting of a fertile peridotite source region which had a potential temperature (Tp) of 1564–1614 °C. Thus, the Caribbean oceanic plateau lavas are derived from decompression melting of a hot upwelling mantle plume with excess heat relative to ambient upper mantle. Extensional decompression partial melting of sub-slab asthenosphere in a slab window with an ambient mantle Tp cannot produce enough melt to form a plateau. The formation of the Caribbean oceanic plateau by melting of ambient upper mantle in a slab window setting, is therefore, highly improbable.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Caribbean oceanic plateau; mantle plume; slab window; primary magma; Curaçao
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0012-8252
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 12:22

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