Petrochemical evidence for off-ridge magmatism in a back-arc setting from the Yakuno ophiolite, Japan

Yuji Ichiyama, Akira Ishiwatari

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    28 Citations (Scopus)


    The Permian ophiolite emplaced in the Yakuno area, Kyoto Prefecture, consists of metavolcanic sequences, metagabbro and a troctolitic intrusion. The metavolcanics are associated with thick mudstone through a contact that shows the flowage of lava over unconsolidated mud layers on the sea floor. The metavolcanics and metagabbro have rare earth element (REE) patterns that are similar to enriched (E)- and transitional (T)-types ([La/Yb]N = 0.77-11.2) of mid-oceanic ridge basalts (MORB), whereas their Nb/La ratios (0.40-1.20) are as low as those of back-arc basin basalts (BABB). Cr-spinels in the metavolcanic rocks have Cr# of 40-73 and an Fe3- # of 9-24, numbers which are comparable to the values of BABB. These lines of evidence suggest that the Yakuno ophiolite originated more likely from an early stage back-arc basin rather than from an oceanic plateau, as has been suggested by some researchers. The troctolitic body that intrudes as a 0.5-km long lens in the metagabbro is composed of troctolite, olivine gabbro and microgabbro. The troctolite is marked by an olivine-plagioclase crystallization sequence, different from the commonly observed olivine-clinopyroxene sequence in other mafic/ultramafic cumulates of the Yakuno ophiolite. The microgabbro, with a composition close to that of the parental magma of the troctolite, is depleted in light REE ([La/Yb]N = 0.18-0.55) so that it has an REE pattern that mimics normal (N)-type MORB. The interstitial clinopyroxene of the troctolite has highly variable TiO2 contents (0.2-1.4 wt%), which is interpreted to result from postcumulus crystallization of heterogeneous intercumulus melts. The troctolitic intrusion may represent a late stage intrusion that formed in an off-ridge environment during sea floor spreading of the back-arc basin. The geochemical variation observed in the Yakuno ophiolite, ranging from N- to E-MORB affinities, reflects the changes in both mantle source compositions and processes involved in magma generation during the evolution of the back-arc basin.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)157-177
    Number of pages21
    JournalIsland Arc
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2004 Mar 1


    • Back-arc basin
    • Late intrusion
    • Postcumulus crystallization
    • Troctolite
    • Yakuno ophiolite

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geology


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