Volcanology and petrology of submarine volcanoes of the New Hebrides island arc

Thomas, Kelly Jean (2011) Volcanology and petrology of submarine volcanoes of the New Hebrides island arc. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The New Hebrides Island Arc, an intra-oceanic island chain in the southwest Pacific, is formed by subduction of the Indo-Australian Plate beneath the Pacific Plate. The southern end of the New Hebrides Island Arc is an ideal location to study the magmatic and tectonic interaction of an emerging island arc as this part of the island chain is less than 3 million years old. A tectonically complex island arc, it exhibits a change in relative subduction rate from ~12cm/yr to 6 cm/yr before transitioning to a left-lateral strike slip zone at its southern end. Two submarine volcanic fields, Gemini-Oscostar and Volsmar, occur at this transition from normal arc subduction to sinistral strike slip movement. Multi-beam bathymetry and dredge samples collected during the 2004 CoTroVE cruise onboard the RV Southern Surveyor help define the relationship between magmatism and tectonics, and the source for these two submarine volcanic fields. Gemini-Oscostar volcanic field (GOVF), dominated by northwest-oriented normal faults, has mature polygenetic stratovolcanoes with evidence for explosive subaqueous eruptions and homogeneous monogenetic scoria cones. Volsmar volcanic field (VVF), located 30 km south of GOVF, exhibits a conjugate set of northwest and eastwest-oriented normal faults, with two polygenetic stratovolcanoes and numerous monogenetic scoria cones. A deep water caldera provides evidence for explosive eruptions at 1500m below sea level in the VVF. Both volcanic fields are dominated by low-K island arc tholeiites and basaltic andesites with calcalkalic andesite and dacite being found only in the GOVF. Geochemical signatures of both volcanic fields continue the along-arc trend of decreasing K2O with both volcanic fields being similar to the New Hebrides central chain lavas. Lavas from both fields display a slight depletion in high field strength elements and heavy rare earth elements, and slight enrichments in large-ion lithophile elements and light rare earth elements with respect to N-MORB mantle. Sr and Nd isotope data correlate with heavy rare earth and high field strength element data to show that both fields are derived from depleted mantle. Pb isotopes define Pacific MORB mantle sources and are consistent with isotopic variation along the New Hebrides Island Arc. Pb isotopes show no evidence for sediment contamination; the subduction component enrichment is therefore a slab-derived enrichment. There is a subtle spatial variation in source chemistry which sees a northerly trend of decreasing enrichment of slab-derived fluids.

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ID Code: 45480
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Gust, David & Huftile, Gary
Keywords: New Hebrides island arc, submarine volcanism, igneous petrology, geochemistry
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 26 Aug 2011 02:27
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2011 02:27

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