Geochemical variation along and across the Central American Miocene paleoarc in Honduras and Nicaragua

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An analysis of 70 samples, collected from Miocene-age ignimbrites in 68 locations in Nicaragua and Honduras, indicates that geochemical processes and a subduction zone geometry similar to those in the modern arc were also present in the paleoarc. Samples were plotted along two transects, parallel and perpendicular to the inferred paleoarc. Most of the oxide plots exhibit flat profiles along the arc from NW to SE, except for SiO2, which decreases. FeO, CaO, TiO2, and MgO increase from NW to SE. There are no clear trends in the oxides from SW to NE, except K2O. K2O increases to the SW. Most trace elements show little to no variation along the province from NW to SE, with the exception of La, Ce, Rb, Ba, Th, Nb, Ta, Pb, and Sr, which all appear to decrease in abundance from NW to SE. While Ba increases to the SW, toward the paleotrench, it also shows remarkable variation parallel to the arc, with highs in Nicaragua, and decreasing concentrations to the NW and SE. This trend is especially apparent in Ba/La with lows near 1 in the NW and highs approaching 80 in Nicaragua. This trend is similar to that of the modern arc, which suggests that the geometry of the arc in the Miocene was very similar to that of the modern arc. In addition, the data also becomes more scattered to the southeast as a basement boundary is crossed (determined by gravity-anomaly mapping), probably due to a higher degree of contamination by continental crust. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta