Accreted igneous assemblages in orogenic belts maybe divided into three types depending on whether they derive from seamounts, ocean ridges or subduction-related ophiolites. Seamount type basalts are associated with shallow water sediments-mostly reefoidal limestones. Ocean ridge type basalts are generally overlain by pelagic cherts. Subduction-related ophiolitic eruptives, often underlain by gabbroic and ultramafic rocks, are associated with hemipelagic mudstones. The age of such diverse eruptive lithologic assemblages reflects the time taken for them to have traveled from their locus of generation to their place of accretion at a continental margin. This relationship has been established for each type of accretionary complex, examples being taken mostly from Japan and the western Pacific rim in order to represent evolutionary processes at a typical active plate margin. In general, the seamount types are older, ridge types are of intermediate age, and the ophiolitic types are by far the youngest, usually close to zero age. Seamount type basalts are accreted by shallower scraping of the seamount's sediment apron together with fragments of seamount basalt, ridge type, by peeling due to permeability contrast, and the ophiolitic types by deeper scraping as a consequence of an inflected temperature gradient. Accordingly, it is concluded that the ophiolitic rocks are generated close to the trench and may be accreted as a result of ridge subduction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth-Surface Processes